Five teens charged in shooting 79-year-old at Farmers Market

LAKELAND - Six minors and one adult have been identified as the suspects in an armed robbery and attempted murder after shooting a 79-year-old business owner at the Lakeland Farmer's Market two weeks ago.  

Bernando Copeland, 18, and four minors, ranging from 15 to 17, were taken into custody Sunday, while two suspects, ages 13 and 14, remain at large.  

Around 7:45 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24, two of the suspects approached the victim's coin and gun booth business at the farmers' market, located on 2701 Swindell Road in Lakeland.

They told the victim that they wanted to buy a gun, but the owner said no.

The suspects told victim they would be back, and a few minutes later, six of the suspect's approached the booth.

One of them smashed the glass case where the handguns were placed.

Another suspect, who was armed with a handgun, shot the victim in the stomach. The suspects then fled to a field located on the NW corner of the Farmers Market.   

The victim was taken to the hospital.

On Dec 1, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd announced that they arrested five of the seven suspects.

"All of the suspects responsible for this senseless act of violence will go to jail.  Our detectives are working around the clock - this investigation isn't over."

If anyone has any information about the suspects at large, you are asked to contact Detective Radabaugh at (863) 307-5051 or (863) 298- 6200.

Anyone with information who wants to remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call 1 (800) 226-TIPS or log onto

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