TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A 21-year-old sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot while serving an arrest warrant in unincorporated Polk City Tuesday morning, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.
Judd said four deputies were attempting to arrest Cheryl Lynn Williams, 46, at a mobile home at around 2 a.m. on Foxtown South on a warrant for failing to appear in court for a possession of methamphetamine charge.
When deputies arrived, they asked a man at the scene, known as Witness A, where Williams was. The man told them she was behind the home, but when deputies went there, a second man told the deputies that she was inside and invited them to enter.
At this point, Deputy Blane Lane, 21, goes back to the front of the home and takes a tactical position just in case Williams tried to run.
“The position he’s taken, and this is important in a minute, is not in front of any doors or windows, but he’s angled so he can see the front door, he can see a set of windows, and he’s where people inside can’t see him,” Judd said.
As Lane stood by, Sergeant Michael Brooks and Deputy Johnny Holsonback III entered the mobile home and began clearing the rooms.
When Holsonback looked into the mobile home’s “gaming room,” Williams stepped in front of the deputies while wielding a realistic BB gun.
According to the sheriff’s office, Williams picked up the BB gun when she realized the deputies were there. The second witness told Williams, “you don’t want to do that,” but the suspect told him to let the deputies inside.
“It is my belief at this stage of the investigation, she clearly and unequivocally put us into a gunfight with her and/or a suicide by cop,” Judd said.
The two deputies fired at Williams, hitting her two times. However, she was not the only one injured by the gunfire.
“At that same time, Deputy Lane says I’m hit,” Judd said. “Witness One, who’s on the porch sees Deputy Lane grabbing his shoulder like he’s pulling at his shirt, and he walks from his tactical position out under another covered area and goes down to one knee.”
Deputy Adam Pennell, also at the scene, went to Lane and tried to render aid. Judd said an early investigation found that six shots were fired and that the shot that hit Lane came from a fellow deputy that went through an exterior wall.
Judd said initially, it appeared that Lane was shot in the arm and that he would be fine. However, while Lane was being treated at Lakeland Regional Health, the injury was discovered to be much worse.
“As they’re treating Deputy Lane, we learn that the shot that went into the shoulder went into the chest cavity, and he died,” the sheriff said.
Williams was placed under arrest at Lakeland Regional Health and will be charged with second-degree murder and other charges once she is released.
“It’s our goal to see that she’s incarcerated for the rest of her natural life,” Judd said.
Lane, a father to a 3-year-old child, was sworn as a detention deputy in May 2021, later joining the Northwest District Patrol in January 2022.
“He was brilliant,” Judd said. “He learned, he absorbed information, and he was careful when he did his job.”
A memorial service with full law enforcement honors will be planned for Lane. A procession was held Tuesday morning.