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Lakeland police officer won't survive shooting, chief says

LAKELAND — With the members of her department standing shoulder-to-shoulder behind her, Lakeland police Chief Lisa Womack stood before reporters Tuesday night and made a grim announcement.

Officer Arnulfo Crispin, who was shot in the line of duty Sunday night, will not survive. His family was making "end-of-life plans" Tuesday night, Womack said.

"As we grieve, I ask that we lean on each other, for help from our friends and our family," Womack said.

The chief said Crispin, 25, was "a young, energetic officer, very dedicated to the profession that he chose. He served this community well and will be sorely missed from this day forward."

Earlier Tuesday, a semiautomatic handgun was found in a crawl space outside an apartment complex near where Crispin was gravely wounded.

Authorities have charged 19-year-old Kyle Williams with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.

Court documents say Crispin was shot in the head after approaching five men in a park Sunday night.

Crispin told a radio dispatcher about 10:11 p.m. that he was getting out of his patrol car to talk with "suspicious subjects," records say.

Police said one of the men Crispin saw in the park was Williams.

Two men questioned by police told detectives they were with Williams and two other men when Crispin arrived.

After talking with the men, Crispin got consent to conduct a "pat-down" search for weapons or illegal drugs, a police affidavit says.

"They stated it was during that pat-down process that (Williams) produced a handgun and shot Officer Crispin in the head," the affidavit said.

"After the shooting, everyone ran from the park, leaving Officer Crispin lying unresponsive on the city park grounds with life-threatening injuries," the affidavit said.

Officer Heather Freeman arrived as backup about six minutes after Crispin's radio transmission and found him gravely wounded, the report said.

People living near the park told police they heard a single shot and watched several people flee.

Descriptions led quickly to the other men from the park.

One said he had seen Williams had a handgun earlier in the night.

Williams surrendered to police Monday morning.

Polk County Judge John E. Kirkland denied bail to Williams on Tuesday afternoon.

Police have said they don't expect to make further arrests.

Information from the Associated Press and the Ledger of Lakeland was used in this report.

Lakeland police officer won't survive shooting, chief says 12/20/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 8:46am]
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