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Man dead amid officer-involved shooting in Winter Haven, sheriff says

Orchid Springs apartment complex
Posted at 6:48 PM, Apr 18, 2021

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — A man is dead following an officer-involved shooting Saturday night, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.

The sheriff's office said officers with Winter Haven police arrived on the scene of a domestic disturbance around 10 p.m. Saturday night, after a 21-year-old woman dialed 911, claiming 52-year-old Larry Jenkins had sexually harassed her 14-year-old sister.

“She was uncomfortable with him today so she was texting me to come get her, so I came, and she told me that he had done some inappropriate things," the 21-year-old woman, who law enforcement is not identifying, explained on the 911 call.

When the 21-year-old woman and her husband arrived, they say Jenkins pulled out a handgun, pointed it at himself, then shot at the ground.

Winter Haven Police arrived on scene at an apartment complex near Orchid Springs where they say Jenkins was standing inside a screened-in porch and kept his right hand in his pocket.

“The officers told him multiple times, ‘show me your hands, show me your hands,’ to which Larry Jenkins announced to the police officers ‘I have a gun in my pocket,’” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

Sheriff Judd says a Winter Haven police officer tased Jenkins twice, with no result, which is when Jenkins pulled a handgun out of his pocket, and Sergeant Joshua Dentel fired at Jenkins.

“When he pulled the gun out, at that time the sergeant shot at least seven times,” said Sheriff Judd.

No officers were injured, but Jenkins later died at the hospital.

Sheriff Judd says Jenkins did not have the legal right to possess a firearm, and witnesses say Jenkins was drunk.

“He told the police officers, ‘I’m gonna die tonight, you all are going to shoot me,’" said Sheriff Judd.

Law enforcement does not plan to release the relationship between Jenkins and the 14-year-old, and ABC Action News has elected not to show Jenkins' photo out of protection for the victim.

Sheriff Judd said during Sunday's press conference that the mother of the 14-year-old victim was planning to bring her to the sheriff's office Sunday so she could give a first-hand account of the situation.

While the Polk County Sheriff's Office conducts its investigation into the shooting, the Winter Haven Police Department is conducting its own international investigation.

Sheriff Judd said per protocol, the Winter Haven Sgt. involved in the shooting is on administrative leave with pay until the investigation is over.

This is a developing story, and we will bring you new details as we get them.