WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) — A Winter Haven man was murdered in a church parking lot on Sunday, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
In a news conference Monday, Sheriff Grady Judd announced the arrest of Taquion “Quan” Cotton, 22, in connection to a fatal shooting at Pentecostal Church of God in the Inwood area of Winter Haven.
Cotton was accused of fatally shooting Roderick Wilson Jr., 20, in the parking lot of the church where his father is a pastor. Wilson was living in an apartment in the church at the time of the incident.
The shooting was captured on security cameras on a nearby building, according to the sheriff’s office. Judd said there is no indication the two men knew each other before the incident.
Wilson’s body was found in the parking lot at 1:47 a.m. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the site of the shooting.
“It’s important to understand, as it was explained to us, that Rodrick was a Christian boy and he loved the Lord,” Judd said. “Unfortunately, he got to see the Lord face-to-face a lot sooner than he should have.”
While searching for the suspect, detectives spotted Cotton standing in the roadway, according to PCSO. He was accused of running to a nearby home and putting a woman in a chokehold.
Cotton’s mother, who lives nearby, ran over to help. Judd said Cotton bit her while she helped deputies arrest her son.
A deputy deployed their taser and Cotton was taken into custody. He yelled at his mother following his arrest, according to PCSO, demanding that she would not press charges on him for biting her.
“Detectives are still trying to determine Taquion Cotton’s motivation to commit this murder. At this time, there is no indication the two men knew each other prior to tonight,” Judd said. “Despite the murderer being locked-up, there is still work to be done. Please keep Roderick Wilson’s family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Cotton was charged with first degree murder, burglary with battery, kidnapping, battery-domestic with prior conviction, harassing in a felony proceeding, resisting with violence, tampering with physical evidence, discharging a firearm in a residential area, and resisting without violence.
At first appearance Monday, a judge ordered Cotton to be held on no bond.
Cotton said he refused a public defender. The judge appointed him a public defender on his behalf for now.
“Here’s what we do know,” Judd said, holding up Cotton’s mugshot. “This is a bad man. He did a bad thing. He had a good momma that helped us, but he’s going to a bad man’s jail. Our goal is to send him to prison for the rest of his life for murdering a really good kid.”
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at (863) 298-6200 or to remain anonymous, call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS.