LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — Lakeland residents are in shock and calling for an end to violence after 11 people were injured in a shooting in broad daylight Monday.
Authorities said a dark-colored Nissan four-door pulled up near the intersection of Iowa Avenue North and Plum Street and at least two gunmen fired from both sides of the car in what appeared to be a targeted drive-by shooting. Eleven men between the ages of 20 and 35 years old were injured, two of them critically.
Residents say a school bus had dropped off children near the intersection just moments before the shooting.
“There were kids actually who had to get down in the parking lot,” said Tina Smith.
The shooting happened just feet away from Smith’s home and she was able to provide police with security camera video. The video shows her daughter arrive home from school less than a minute before the barrage of bullets rang out.
“I heard what I thought was a roll of firecrackers and when I didn’t see the smoke I knew it wasn’t good, and then you hear people saying I’m hit, I’m hit, and running in. All I could do is have them get in the house, get on the ground and call for help,” said Smith. “Thank god not one child was shot. It made me cry. I just burst into tears. It was just a matter of seconds where things could have gone way worse than what they were.”
Police Chief Sam Taylor said his detectives worked through the night to gather clues and identify suspects.
“We do not have anyone in custody yet, however, detectives worked throughout the night to identify suspects and we have some very promising leads and very promising information,” Taylor said. “We are actively pursuing those leads right now.”
Taylor confirmed that a dark-colored Nissan sedan that may be linked to shooting was recovered in West Lakeland, but didn’t say exactly where.
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $5,000 to anyone with information that leads to an arrest of the suspects involved. To remain anonymous and eligible for the reward, call 800-226-TIPS(8477) or dial **TIPS. You can also visit the website www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com and click on “Submit A Tip” or download the free “P3tips” app on your smartphone or tablet.