Monday, January 22, 2018
Public safety

Police: Lakeland man 71, refused orders, dies after police confrontation

LAKELAND — A man who police said yelled racial slurs at his neighbors and threatened them with a gun died Thursday night after a confrontation with officers.

The incident took place at about 8:45 p.m. Lakeland police officers were dispatched to 726 W Crescent Drive after residents called about 71-year-old Jerry Roach, who they said yelled racial slurs at neighbors, fired his gun into the air once and pointed it at them from his front yard.

Officers surrounded his home and evacuated neighbors. They tried to get Roach, who was inside, to come outside, but he refused. But then Roach told officers on the phone that he was going to come outside and that police would have to kill him. He said he would bring his shotgun, police said.

Roach stepped out of his home with his shotgun at about 10:50 p.m and walked toward officers, who ordered him to drop it. After he refused, six officers fired at Roach.

He was taken to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 11:20 p.m.

The officers involved in the shooting have been put on paid administrative leave while the investigation is ongoing, which is routine, Lakeland police said.

The officers involved in the incident were:

Officer Camilo Almeida, who was hired Oct. 12, 2015.

Officer Nick Harrison, who was hired Oct. 12, 2015.

Officer Travis Miller, who was hired Sept. 15, 2014.

Officer Sean Mulderrig, who was hired Aug. 8, 2016.

Officer Raj Patel, who was hired March 6, 2017.

Officer John Renew, who was hired Sept. 15, 2014.

Roach, a felon, has had previous incidents with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, which include three felony and two misdemeanor arrests. He was prohibited from having a firearm.

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