NewsPolk County


Lakeland PD: Homicide suspect drove from Miami to assassinate victim

Posted at 1:57 PM, Feb 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-26 19:59:22-05

LAKELAND, Fla. — Lakeland Police say a Miami man drove four hours one-way just to commit murder.

Juan Alejandro Vargas Diaz was arrested on First Degree Murder charges as well as attempted murder after detectives say he shot nearly 30 rounds into Artillery Motor Sports on February 15th, 2019.

The intentional assassination, according to police, killed 32-year-old Steven Schelmety, severely inured his 70-year-old father and bullets almost hit Schelmety’s mother.

“She was in the office in the back of the office, in the complex there and a couple of rounds went through the television, through the walls and just missed her head.” Captain Sam Taylor, with Lakeland Police said.

Reports show the suspect was living in Miami and was caught on camera driving up the turnpike to the Lakeland business and then shortly afterward, driving all the way back to South Florida.

Detectives say the only relationship between the suspect and the Schelmety family seems to be they offered their home as a shelter to the suspect during Hurricane Irma.

ABC Action News confirmed the murder was not over drugs, according to Captain Taylor.

Police say the shooting only took about six seconds, leading them to believe the trigger could have been illegally altered.

In the report, it says the suspect parked his Toyota Tacoma with the driver’s side in front of the business and waited about seven to eight minutes before there was movement from the business. When the victim and his father, Esteban Schelmety, opened the bay door the suspect immediately fired multiple shots at the victims.