Boyfriend in jealous rage shot man to death at Tampa motel, detectives say

Michael Godfrey Evans, 26, had never met the victim when he fired at him six times as he sat in a parked car, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Michael Godfrey Evans of Lakeland was arrested in a fatal shooting outside a Tampa motel.
Michael Godfrey Evans of Lakeland was arrested in a fatal shooting outside a Tampa motel. [ Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Jul. 21, 2021

TAMPA — A Lakeland man has been arrested on a charge of second-degree murder for shooting another man to death in a jealous rage outside a Tampa motel, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.

Michael Godfrey Evans, 27, was arrested in Lakeland and booked Wednesday into the Hillsborough County jail in the death May 17 of Elijah Polie, 24. Polie was shot six times in a parked car outside the Fairfield Inn, 6720 Lakeview Center Dr., near Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Interstate 4.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Evans stormed into the hotel accusing his girlfriend, who lives and works there, of cheating on him. He confronted one man in the laundry, walked out, and soon after came across Polie.

He shot Polie “in a depraved mind,” the affidavit said. The two men had never met and it didn’t appear that Evans planned to shoot Polie when he showed up at the motel, the affidavit said.

Polie’s mother, who also worked at the motel, told sheriff’s detectives that he had not been sleeping with Evans’ girlfriend and said they had no romantic relationship.

The two-month investigation involved text messages Evans exchanged with his girlfriend following the shooting, 56 of them the day after it occurred, the affidavit said. Detectives obtained a subpoena to review the records.

Evans was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail on Wednesday on one count of shooting at a vehicle and one count of second-degree murder. He was being held without bail.