The four-door sedan stopped near an intersection in a central Florida city where people milled about, rolled down the tinted windows, and shots began in all directions from inside the vehicle, injuring 11 men, two of whom which were left in critical condition, according to police authorities.
Just a minute earlier, a school bus had unloaded children in the Lakeland neighborhood on Monday afternoon.
“It sounded like it was one of those huge coils of firecrackers tied together,” said neighbor Tina Smith, who lives 50 feet (15 meters) from the property where the shots were fired. “But you knew they weren’t firecrackers.”
Authorities on Tuesday offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspects involved in the shooting in Lakeland, a city of 112,000 located about halfway between Tampa and Orlando.
One of the seriously wounded was shot in the stomach and the other in the jaw. The remainder suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The victims were men between the ages of 20 and 35, Lakeland Police Chief Sammy Taylor said at a news conference.
After the shots were fired, the vehicle fled. Investigators believed they found it Tuesday morning in a Lakeland neighborhood and planned to run lab tests on it to see if it was the vehicle involved in the shootings.
“I’ve lived here 34 years, and I can say that I’ve never worked on an event where so many people were shot at the same time, ever,” Taylor said. “We consider ourselves a small city (…) and when things like this happen, it hits us hard, at least for me.”
This story was originally published on January 31, 2023 1:38 pm.
Source: El Nuevo Herald