NewsPolk County


Three adults dead in murder-suicide, four children rescued from scene in Lakeland

Posted at 8:01 PM, Dec 24, 2019

LAKELAND, Fla. — Three adults are dead in an apparent murder-suicide and four children were rescued from the scene in Lakeland on Christmas Eve.

The Lakeland Police Department responded to a call from a home on Atlanta Avenue around 5:30 p.m. According to police, four children, all under the age of 10, were inside the house during the incident and were transported to the Lakeland police station.

Police say 30-year-old Leighton Josephs was armed with a handgun when he entered the home and shot a man and a woman inside. Josephs was known to both victims, according to police.

All four children were not harmed in the incident.

Mary LaRoy, a neighbor, said she is worried for the rescued children after they experienced a traumatic event.

"Children, you know were taken out of the windows," LaRoy said. "Any time those children think about Christmas, they’re going to think about tonight.”

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The deadly incident remains under investigation and police are urging anyone with information to contact Detective Laura Dunn at or 863-834-6974.