Florida Drive-By Shooting Leaves 10 Injured, 2 in Critical Condition: Police

By Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.
January 31, 2023Updated: February 1, 2023

Police are investigating a drive-by shooting that took place in Lakeland, Florida, on the afternoon of Jan. 30 that left 10 people injured, two of whom are in critical condition.

The Lakeland Police Department said that the shooting took place at approximately 3:43 p.m. on Monday near the 900 block of Iowa Avenue North. A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered to anyone with information that leads to the identification and arrest of the suspects involved.

In a press conference on Monday, Lakeland Police Chief Sam Taylor said that police received multiple phone calls regarding the shooting on Monday and four officers arrived on the scene within minutes of the calls.

Police found eight victims who suffered non-life-threatening wounds, Taylor said, while another two victims are in critical condition. One of those in critical condition is in surgery and the other is “either in surgery or headed into surgery,” Taylor said at the time.

He added that one of the critically injured victims was shot in the abdomen and the other was shot in the face/jaw area.

Three of the victims, aged between 20 and 35 years old, were transported to a nearby hospital by emergency management services. The remaining victims were taken in personal vehicles, he said.

Police Searching for Suspects

Police initially believed there to be nine victims but later updated that figure to 10 after learning of an additional individual who had sustained injuries.

Taylor said that some of the victims are cooperating with police but others are not.

“Some that had non-life-threatening injuries have decided that they don’t have any idea why this happened. And some are telling us everything that they know about it,” Taylor said.

A dark-blue Nissan four-door sedan with tinted windows pulled up at the scene of the shooting, according to Taylor, who shared a photo of the vehicle.

“The vehicle slowed, did not stop, and the four windows went down. It appeared to be occupied by four shooters in the vehicle,” Taylor said. “They started firing from all four windows of the vehicle and shooting males on both sides of the street.”

The four individuals were reportedly wearing facial coverings.

After shots were fired, the vehicle sped off northbound and police are now actively trying to track down the vehicle, the police chief added.

Marijuana, Rifle Found

Police believe it was a targeted attack and located a “quantity” of marijuana at the shooting scene, which indicates to law enforcement officers that “obviously there was a narcotic sale or sales of marijuana going on at the time,” Taylor said.

“Whether that is significant or related to this is unknown,” the police chief said. “We will be out most of the night trying to figure out who these individuals are in the vehicle.”

There are roughly 15 detectives and more than 20 police officers currently working at the scene of the shooting, according to Taylor.

No weapons were located at the scene but a rifle was found in one of the personnel vehicles that arrived at the hospital and was used to transport one of the victims, according to police.

“This is something that doesn’t happen in Lakeland,” Taylor said. “I’ve been here 34 years, and I can tell you I have never worked an event where this many people have been shot at one time, ever.”

Police believe there is currently no threat to the public and said that the area where the shooting occurred is a “challenging neighborhood” that police have paid a lot of attention to over the past few years.

Lakeland is located in Polk County and has a population of just over 115,000 people.

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