Police: Shots fired during fight at Auburndale Community Center

Polk County

AUBURNDALE, Fla. (WFLA) – Shots fired during a fight over a basketball game capped off a wild day of arrests involving young people in Auburndale.

A group of basketball players in their late teens to early 20s let a fight at Auburndale Community Center get out of hand Monday night, Auburndale police said.

“They didn’t like the way the game went. Apparently, somebody was upset because they lost the game. Then there was some talk, a bunch of smack talk, about fouls and things that weren’t real fouls,” said Chief Andy Ray. “Ridiculousness is what it was about.”

Police are investigating which basketball player(s) retrieved a gun and fired it into the grass.

Chief Ray expects to make an arrest, or arrests, soon.

Anyone arrested would face misdemeanor charges of discharging a firearm in public and improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon, Chief Ray said.

“We’re not putting up with it. We’re not going to have silliness in this city. This is a safe place and it’s going to continue to be a safe place,” he said.

Frequent visitors say this incident doesn’t square with their experience at the community center.

“It’s sad if something like that happened here because something like that doesn’t normally happen here. Not gonna stop me from coming,” said Tom Kennedy.

“Why don’t they go help somebody? They could mow the lawn or something like that. This is too great a city for this to happen to,” said Brian Toune.

Hours before the incident at the community center, a 14-year old Auburndale High School freshman was arrested for allegedly bringing a loaded gun to school.

Courtesy: Auburndale Police Department

Three other freshmen were taken into custody after they were accused of slipping a threatening note in a teacher’s mailbox.

The teens said they found the note and dared each other on their way home to put it into a mailbox near the school. They told police they didn’t know the house belonged to a teacher.

“All three of them took part in it: one of them opened the mailbox, the other one put the note in the mailbox, the other one closed the mailbox. We have video of that,” said Chief Ray.

All four high schoolers are facing felonies.

“We’re concerned about our community. It’s important to us to keep it safe and keep the people here. We had a couple of things that happened yesterday involving guns that are not normal and to me, aggravating,” said Chief Ray.

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April 24 2021 08:00 am

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