23-hour standoff in Polk Co. ends with attempted murder charge

Polk County

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Lakeland man has been arrested after a lengthy standoff with deputies.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the incident first started when Nickolus Johnson, 30, shot at his ex-girlfriend at 9:30 p.m. New Year’s Day when she tried picking up their two children, aged 4 and 9.

Johnson’s ex-girlfriend told deputies she went to Johnson’s and his mother’s home located off of Deeson Road after he called and was “making irrational statements on the phone.”

Shortly after she arrived, deputies say Johnson pulled out a gun and began firing at the ex-girlfriend’s windshield while she was inside the car. That’s when she left and called the sheriff’s office, according to deputies.

Deputies say Johnson barricaded himself in the Lakeland home, armed and with the two children.

Deputies responded to the home, creating a perimeter and began to communicate with Johnson throughout the day.

According to deputies, Johnson refused to exit the home with the children and refused to let the children leave.

The PSCO SWAT and Crisis Negotiations teams also responded.

Johnson’s mother, 49-year-old Nikki Whigham, later arrived and began yelling at her son not to come out of the house and not to co-operate with law enforcement. After continuing to be verbally combative with deputies and impeding the efforts of officers, Whigham was arrested and taken to the Polk County Jail for resisting a law enforcement officer without violence, according to deputies.

Following further investigation, deputies say they learned Johnson had a history of mental health issues including four Baker Acts in Polk and Hillsborough Counties.

After 23 hours, deputies were able to take Johnson into custody Thursday evening around 8:20.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office

Deputies say both children were found and did not appear to be physically harmed.

A .380 semi-automatic handgun was also found inside the home, according to deputies.

Johnson was charged with attempted second-degree homicide, shooting into an occupied vehicle, two counts of armed kidnapping, two counts of child abuse, resisting without violence, discharging a firearm on residential property, improper exhibition of a firearm, culpable negligence, shooting at a dwelling and criminal mischief.

He was booked into the Polk County Jail and is being held on no bond.

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