‘I’m going to die tonight’: Man shot, killed by Winter Haven police officer following domestic violence incident

Polk County

POLK COUNTY, FLA. (WFLA) – The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating a fatal officer-involved shooting that happened late Saturday evening.

Deputies say several Winter Haven police officers responded to a domestic disturbance call around 10:10 p.m. Saturday after 52-year-old Larry Jenkins fired a gun in his apartment.

When officers arrived at Jenkins’ apartment, located off Orchid Springs Drive, Sheriff Grady Judd said officers tried to knock on the door of the apartment, but no one responded. Sergeant Joshua Dentel of the Winter Haven Police Department went around to the back of the apartment, where he was able to see and talk to Jenkins. Deputies say Jenkins was standing inside the screened-in porch, smoking a cigarette with his left hand while keeping his right hand hidden in his pocket.

According to Judd, Dentel gave Jenkins verbal commands to show him his hands, which he ignored. Jenkins told the sergeant, “I have a gun in my pocket.”

Two other Winter Haven Police Department officers who were at the front of the apartment heard Dentel talking with Jenkins and went to assist.

Deputies say Jenkins then exited the screened-in porch and stopped just outside the door, while still keeping his right hand in his pocket. Additional verbal commands were given to Jenkins, which were also ignored.

Judd said Jenkins then made several statements to the officers, including, “I’m going to die tonight” and “You’re going to have to shoot me.”

Dentel asked one of the other officers to switch from his gun to a less-lethal weapon, at which Officer Doyle pulled out his Taser, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

After Jenkins continued to refuse to remove his right hand from his pocket, deputies say Doyle fired his Taser at Jenkins, which appeared to have no effect on him. Doyle then noticed Jenkins began to bring his right hand out of his pocket, showing the butt of a black gun.

According to Judd, after Doyle noticed the gun in Jenkins’ hand, he deployed his Taser a second time, which appeared to have a small effect, causing Jenkins to slightly flinch.

As Officer Doyle deployed his Taser the second time, Sergeant Dentel watched Jenkins bring his right hand out of his pocket, causing Dentel to see the side of the black handgun.

Deputies say as Jenkins pulled the handgun out of his pocket, Dentel fired his rifle at Jenkins, hitting him several times. Jenkins fell to the ground and dropped a black Taurus 9mm handgun.

The Winter Haven officers on scene started to administer life-saving measures and called EMS to the apartment, Judd said. Jenkins was taken to Winter Haven Hospital, where he later died from his injuries.

According to witnesses and the people who reported the initial domestic violence incident, deputies say Jenkins had been drinking all day.

The sheriff’s office says family members of Jenkins reported a history of alcohol abuse.

The person who called 911 told deputies that she was called to the apartment to pick up her 14-year-old relative. The teenager told her that she was being sexually harassed by Jenkins and that he was behaving inappropriately towards her.

Courtesy: Polk County Sheriff’s Office

Deputies say the girl told her relative that Jenkins was making sexual advances towards her, including sexually charged conversations, and that Jenkins exposed his penis to the girl.

When the relative came with her husband to the apartment to pick up the 14-year-old is when the confrontation started. Sheriff Judd said Jenkins pulled out a semi-automatic pistol, racked it, showed and offered the gun to the husband for him to shoot Jenkins. Jenkins then aimed the gun at his own head, said that “I’m fixin’ to get ready to die,” and then fired the handgun.

The two adults who came to pick up the 14-year-old and teenage girl fled the apartment out of fear and called the sheriff’s office. During the 911 call, Judd said they told the dispatcher that Jenkins had a loaded handgun and fired it. They also said that Jenkins said that “he was fixin’ to die.” They reported that he was drunk or that he was “on something.”

The Winter Haven Police Department will be conducting an internal, administrative investigation. The Medical Examiner’s office will be conducting an autopsy examination. The State Attorney’s Office responded to the scene Saturday night and will conduct a separate review and investigation of the shooting.

Per Winter Haven Police Department protocol, the sergeant involved will be on administrative leave with pay during the initial phase of the investigation.

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