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'Totally out of control' man shot, killed by Polk County homeowner after breaking in: Sheriff

Posted at 9:17 AM, Aug 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-28 17:41:05-04

LAKELAND, Fla. — Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said a man who was "wilding out of control" early Friday morning was shot and killed by a homeowner after breaking in.

According to Judd, the 45-year-old man, whose name has not been released at this time, broke into the home after a series of events.

In a press conference, Judd said it happened just after 6 a.m. in the area of Old Polk City Road.

He said the suspect first tried to get onto a school bus full of children but the driver, who Judd hailed a hero, kept the doors locked and prevented the man from getting inside.

According to Judd, the suspect then jumped onto a white vehicle and rolled around before getting off. The driver took off and called 911, Judd said. The driver said the suspect was bleeding but Judd said authorities don't know from what at this point in the investigation.

Next, Judd said the suspect jumped onto a gray vehicle and shattered the windshield. Judd said that driver described the suspect as "growly."

The suspect then jumped off of the second vehicle and went to a home in the area, where Judd said he busted the front glass door. According to Judd, there was a 9-year-old boy inside with his parents and grandparents.

The homeowner called 911 and grabbed a gun while trying to control the man, according to Judd. The sheriff said the suspect grabbed a large piece of glass that hadn't broken and threw it at the homeowner, who shot the suspect.

Deputies arrived and provided first aid, Judd said, but the suspect was later pronounced dead at Lakeland Regional Hospital.

Judd said the homeowner, "did exactly what he should have done," and protected his family.

"So here's a message: stay out of people's house, stay out of their homes," Judd said. "You don't have a right to forcibly break into someone's home."

The sheriff said this is the second time in less than a week that a homeowner in Polk County shot an intruder. He said it's a "deadly" decision to break into someone's home.

The suspect was traveling with a woman who is being interviewed, Judd said. She told authorities they came from Orlando to Polk County to meet up with someone.

Judd said before the series of events, the suspect was driving northbound on Old Polk City Road and crashed through a fence. The sheriff said there are marks left in the roadway from the suspect's driving.

The sheriff's office notified the state attorney's office of the investigation, who will make the final decision on the actions of the homeowner.

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