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'Survivalist' shooter kills 4 people, including infant, in Lakeland, sheriff says

An 11-year-old girl was also injured
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Posted at 3:23 PM, Sep 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-05 15:23:03-04

LAKELAND, Fla. (WTXL) — Five people were shot and four are dead, including an infant, after an active shooter situation in unincorporated Lakeland Sunday.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office said around 4:30 a.m., deputies responded after hearing rounds of gunfire in a neighborhood on North Socrum Loop Road near Fulton Green Road.

"He killed four people this morning and tried to kill deputies," Sheriff Judd said.

Photo by: Polk County Sheriff's Office

When deputies arrived on the scene, they found a man dressed in body armor who ran inside a home. Sheriff Grady Judd said that man did not have a gun at the time.

Deputies heard another round of gunfire inside a home and heard screaming inside. Deputies made their way around the home and entered through the back.

Sheriff Judd said deputies were met with the suspect and they exchanged gunfire. No deputies were injured.

Photo by: Polk County Sheriff's Office

Shortly after, the suspect came out the front door of the house with his arms raised and was taken to Lakeland Regional to get checked out. Sheriff Judd said the suspect was shot once.

While being treated in the ER, the suspect tried to grab a Lakeland officer's gun and he fought with other officers. He was later medicated and treated, Sheriff Judd said.

Deputies made their way inside the home and found an 11-year-old girl with multiple gunshot wounds. She was airlifted to Tampa General Hospital where she is in surgery, Sheriff Judd said.

The 11-year-old girl told deputies there were more people dead inside the home. Deputies later found a man, a woman and an infant dead in one home, Sheriff Judd said. In another home, another woman was found dead.

"It's easy to shoot innocent children and babies and people when you have a gun and they don't. He was not much of a man," Sheriff Judd said.

Sheriff Judd said the suspect admitted to being on meth before the shooting.