Highlands County

1 dead, 2 others injured in drive-by shooting in Sebring

SEBRING, Fla. (WFLA) – Police say a man has died after he was shot during a drive-by shooting early Tuesday morning in Sebring.

Sebring Police Department officers responded to a call about a shooting at 12:02 a.m. The shooting happened in the area of Olds Grocery Store, located at 416 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

"They didn't point at one particular person, they were just shooting," Charlene King said.

Her brother-in-law was hit in the barrage of bullets.

Theodore King, 56, of Sebring, was shot in the right leg. King was transported from the scene to Highlands Regional Medical Center, where he died.

"He didn't mess with nobody. Nobody. He was a cool dude. He was awesome. He loved to work and loved his family," King said.

Two other people were shot. Verkiesha Charmaine Massaline, 21, and Jimmie Olds, 61, were transported to local hospitals.

Investigators said the suspects were driving north on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in a dark-colored, newer model, four-door Chevrolet car.

As the vehicle approached the front of Olds Grocery Store, the occupants of the vehicle began shooting at a crowd of people who were near the front of the building. The vehicle may possibly have been followed by a dark-colored unknown make or model SUV.

"The fact that we've got random people in front of an establishment, shot for no known reason, without provocation, is certainly concerning for the residents of Washington Heights and in the community in general," Sebring Police Chief Karl Hoglund said.

Investigators have not determined a motive, but they believe it may have been retaliation for a shooting in Avon Park early Sunday morning. Five people were shot in that incident.

"There was an altercation at a party between some Avon Park young men and some Sebring young men," Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman said. "There is some suspicion that this is a retaliation attack between Avon Park and Sebring."

Regardless of the motive, neighbors are fed up with the senseless violence.

"People don't even like to come up here anymore because of the violence. You never know what's gonna happen, when it's going to happen," resident Frederick Sholtz said.

"They are cowards. If you got a problem with somebody take it to them," King said.

Anyone with information pertaining to this shooting is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Thomas Gilliard at (863) 471-5108.

A $2,000 reward is being offered. Information relating to this incident may be reported to Heartland Crime Stoppers.

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