Friday, June 22, 2018
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
Tampa boy, 14, shot on bike, police asking for help

Tampa boy, 14, shot on bike, police asking for help

TAMPA — De’Nico Thomas, 14, isn’t a bad kid, police say, but he was the victim of a terrible shooting. The boy had played video games with a friend on Wednesday night and was likely bicycling home, according to police, when someone fired a gun, criti...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Clearwater police search for ‘Bic Bandit’ accused of stealing lighters

Clearwater police search for ‘Bic Bandit’ accused of stealing lighters

CLEARWATER — Police detectives are searching for a man coined the "Bic Bandit" based on reports that he’s stolen dozens of lighters from the same 7-Eleven.According to Clearwater police, the man has swiped the lighters four times in the last month, t...
Updated: 2 hours ago
FHP: One dead, three seriously injured in head-on Pasco crash

FHP: One dead, three seriously injured in head-on Pasco crash

DADE CITY — A Dade City man was killed and three others were seriously injured after a pickup truck and motorcycle crashed head-on Friday morning, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.Floyd Williamson, 72, of Lakeland, was driving northbound on U....
Updated: 2 hours ago
Body of missing Hernando park ranger found in Georgia; boyfriend being questioned

Body of missing Hernando park ranger found in Georgia; boyfriend being questioned

Georgia detectives on Friday recovered the body of Mitzi Marie Babb, a 43-year-old Hernando park ranger who had been missing since Tuesday.Her boyfriend, arrested Thursday on unrelated charges, has been called a person of interest in her disappearanc...
Updated: 3 hours ago
A Pasco driver was annoyed another driver was texting. So he pointed a firearm at her.

A Pasco driver was annoyed another driver was texting. So he pointed a firearm at her.

PORT RICHEY — A 41-year-old Uber driver was arrested Friday after police said he pointed a firearm at another driver because he was annoyed that she was texting and driving.Philip Macchio was driving near State Road 52 and U.S. 19 around 12:30 a.m. F...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Deputies: Cheerleading coach sent explicit images to 16-year-old

Deputies: Cheerleading coach sent explicit images to 16-year-old

A 28-year-old cheerleading coach faces charges for engaging in "inappropriate behavior" with a 16-year-old girl, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Victor Martin Valenty faces 10 counts of traveling to meet a minor, distributing ob...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Suspect arrested in rapper XXXTentacion’s shooting death

Suspect arrested in rapper XXXTentacion’s shooting death

FORT LAUDERDALE — Authorities in Florida have arrested a suspect in the killing of rising rap star XXXTentacion, who was fatally shot in his luxury BMW electric car as he left an upscale motorcycle dealership. Dedrick Devonshay Williams, 22, o...
Published: 06/21/18
St. Pete police: Three lieutenants lied about their work hours

St. Pete police: Three lieutenants lied about their work hours

ST. PETERSBURG — Three lieutenants responsible for supervising the police officers who patrol the city were found to have been faking their work hours instead of showing up for duty on time.In some cases, the watch commanders submitted time sheets st...
Published: 06/21/18
Deputies: Zephyrhills bank robbed, suspect flees on bicycle

Deputies: Zephyrhills bank robbed, suspect flees on bicycle

A Suntrust Bank in Zephyr-hills was robbed early Thursday afternoon, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.At 12:50 p.m., deputies said, the man walked into the bank at 34511 State Road 54 and presented a note demanding money, though he did ...
Published: 06/21/18
Man found dead in Hillsborough Bay had a big fan in the cat world

Man found dead in Hillsborough Bay had a big fan in the cat world

TAMPA — To his friends and neighbors at Tampa Baptist Manor, Norman Lester Porterfield was the man who fed and spoiled Lucky, the scruffy stray calico cat in the back yard. To his friends and coworkers at the Salvation Army, he was a great athlete, a...
Published: 06/21/18