Friday, December 15, 2017
Public safety

Suspect in Lakeland triple homicide dies from apparent self-inflicted wound

LAKELAND — Authorities said the suspect in a Lakeland triple homicide died Tuesday afternoon from an apparent self-inflicted wound after he was tracked to a Tennessee motel room and confronted by a SWAT team.

David Eugene Smith, 27, identified himself as the man wanted in connection with the shooting deaths of two women and a man over the weekend, Knox County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Eddie Biggs told the Knoxville News Sentinel. He called 911, saying he wanted to die at the hands of law enforcement.

His Knoxville motel room was surrounded by deputies. After gas canisters were tossed into the room, he came out with what appeared to be a self-inflicted chest wound, officials said.

He later died from his injuries in a hospital, the Polk County Sheriff's Office announced.

Polk sheriff's spokeswoman Donna Wood said one of the victims was Smith's sister, 31-year-old Danyala Smith. The other two victims were 25-year-old Nikosi Williams and 28-year-old Miranda Mims. Authorities were investigating the relationship between the three victims.

Deputies started searching for David Smith after the bodies were found Monday inside a house at 5601 Old Highway 37 in South Lakeland, where Smith lived, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

A 14-year-old George Jenkins High School student, who also lived at the house, was returning home from an ROTC trip at about 9 a.m. when she found her mom, another woman and a man dead inside, deputies said.

Smith's family told deputies he had been in the Army, had post traumatic stress disorder and was not taking medication.

Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said Smith was delusional and paranoid. Facebook posts showed him referring to himself as "Prince David" and wanting to rid his planet of evil, Judd said.

At the murder scene, children stared as deputies escorted them around yellow crime scene tape to an elementary school a few blocks away.

The Ledger of Lakeland contributed to this report.

Comments

Missing Child Alert canceled for Port St. Lucie girl, 17

A Florida Missing Child Alert has been canceled for a 17-year-old Port St. Lucie girl who was last seen on Thursday.The case involving Heaven Flores has been resolved, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Updated: 2 hours ago
Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, later found in swamp

Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, later found in swamp

DOVER — Two Plant City men, with several outstanding warrants, face additional charges after Hillsborough County deputies said they were driving a stolen car when they fled an attempted traffic stop on Thursday afternoon.The men ran away from deputie...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Hudson pedestrian killed while crossing U.S. 19

HUDSON — A Hudson man was killed Thursday night while crossing U.S. 19.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 59-year-old Gerald Berube was crossing the northbound lanes of U.S. 19 north of Stahl Drive around 6:40 p.m. when he walked into the path ...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Bicyclist killed in Seminole Heights crash; portion of E Hillsborough Avenue closed

TAMPA — A bicyclist was killed early Friday morning in a crash in Seminole Heights.Tampa Police say the bicyclist was struck by a car just after 12:15 a.m.Eastbound E Hillsborough Avenue is closed from N Florida Avenue to N Central Avenue while polic...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tampa police seek ‘person of interest’ in Dec. 3 homicide

Tampa police seek ‘person of interest’ in Dec. 3 homicide

TAMPA — Police are seeking a "person of interest" who they believe has information about a Dec. 3 drive-by shooting that killed a 22-year-old man.Police are searching for Anan Motilal, 25. He stands about 5-foot-10 and weighs 180 pounds. He may have ...
Published: 12/14/17

Pinellas Park officer stuns middle school student with Taser

PINELLAS PARK — A school resource officer stunned a middle school student with a Taser while trying to break up a fight between her and another female student on Thursday, police said.Neither the Pinellas Park officer nor the students involved in the...
Published: 12/14/17
Bob’s Carpet and Flooring heir was source of family strife before arrest

Bob’s Carpet and Flooring heir was source of family strife before arrest

An heir to a local flooring company charged with failing to report the death of a young woman last year has a troubled criminal history and was a source of strife in his family business, according to court records.Robert Butler III, 52, was arrested ...
Published: 12/14/17
Horrified friends watch screaming woman driven to her death in Plant City

Horrified friends watch screaming woman driven to her death in Plant City

PLANT CITY — Jonathon Adams heard a scream, "like a dog getting run over by a car," then saw a minivan come tearing around the corner with a woman he knew dangling out of the passenger side.It was the start of a deadly sequence of events Dec. 8 that ...
Published: 12/14/17
Dade City man turns himself in on warrants for Polk armed robbery

Dade City man turns himself in on warrants for Polk armed robbery

DADE CITY — A 25-year-old man wanted in connection with the attempted robbery of a taxi driver in Lakeland turned himself in late Wednesday night after being prompted by his mother, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Edner Dely of Dade Ci...
Published: 12/14/17

Deputies: Fleeing suspect shoots, injures dog as he runs through yards

DOVER — While fleeing from deputies, a man shot a dog inside a fenced yard Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies said they were attempting to pull over a vehicle that might have been stolen near Milagro Court and Bl...
Published: 12/14/17