NewsPolk County


Lakeland homeowner shoots intruder who broke into his home with a flower pot

Sheriff Grady Judd commends homeowner
Posted at 1:13 PM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 13:13:56-05

LAKELAND, Fla. — An investigation is underway after a Lakeland homeowner shot an intruder who broke into his home Wednesday afternoon.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office said shortly before 1 p.m. Steven Stillwell, 42, broke into a home near Gibsonia-Galloway Road.

Stillwell, according to the homeowner, used a flower pot to break the glass back door of the home before making his way inside. Once inside, the homeowner said he shot Stillwell three times with his legally owned gun.

Upon arrival, deputies said the homeowner gave them his gun and led them to Stillwell, who was on the floor of the living room.

Stillwell was provided first aid and then transported to a local hospital by Polk County Fire Rescue, where he currently "is in critical, stable condition."

PCSO said a shotgun belonging to Stillwell was found in the backyard and detectives were able to access video that showed Stillwell "running from a gate in the backyard and inside the attached back porch area of the home."

“The castle doctrine is very clear in Florida law. A person’s home is his refuge," Sheriff Graddy Judd said in a press release. "The evidence in this case at this point indicates that the suspect illegally forced his way into the home. The homeowner did exactly what he had a right to do. I commend him for protecting himself and defending his home."

PCSO said Stillwell and the homeowner do not know each other.

Criminal charges against Stillwell are pending as the shooting investigation continues, per PCSO.