NewsPolk County


Ministry leaders urge community to remain calm after officer-involved shooting that killed teen

Multiple protests have occurred since the shooting
Posted at 11:45 AM, Dec 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-31 03:03:09-05

LAKELAND, Fla. — Ministry leaders in Lakeland are urging the community to remain calm in the wake of an officer-involved shooting that killed a Winter Haven teenager.

Member of the Lakeland Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance (IMA) along with other local clergy spoke about the recent shooting Friday morning at First Institutional Baptist Church.

RELATED | 17-year-old suspect dead after driving stolen Camaro through crowded parking lot, attempting to run over police

"We want the community to remain peaceful and calm until the investigation is completed," said Rev. Eddie Lake, New Bethel A.M.E. Church.

"Our focus is to care for the family and care for the peace of the community," Lake continued.

Michael Taylor, 17, was shot to death by Lakeland officers Wednesday morning after police say he put lives in danger trying to speed away in a stolen car.

Surveillance video shows the teen erratically driving toward an officer at Salem's Fresh Eats in Lakeland just before 3 a.m. Officers were called to the restaurant to break up a large crowd and once there, spotted a stolen Camaro with Taylor behind the wheel.

ABC Action News has learned that police responded to Salem's Fresh Eats more than 200 times in one year.

Lakeland Chief Larry Giddens says his agency met with restaurant management this week to heighten security and prevent future incidents at the popular late-night hangout.

We've learned Salem's has agreed to close the inside restaurant after 2 a.m. on weekends, staying open for drive-thru business only.

Chief Giddens says the restaurant does plan on hiring its own security to keep people from hanging out in the parking lot during overnight hours.

"The situations have been happening after 2 a.m. after the bars close, they come there, they gather, you have a mix of alcohol, then you have a mix of gun play, arguing, fighting and we're hoping to resolve that by clearing the parking lot," said Chief Giddens.