Detectives said they learned from the witness and evidence at the scene that the victim was renting a room at the motel, from which he was selling marijuana. The witness told investigators that the victim had a “bad feeling” he was going to be robbed during the transaction.
The witness watched the exchange from the safety of a motel room and saw the victim talking to the driver of an older model white Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. The driver, described as a black male, then shot the victim and drove away.
The truck was last seen traveling south on U.S. Highway 27 toward Haines City.
A witness who worked nearby on a construction site also saw the shooting and the suspect’s vehicle. Police were able to get a partial tag number of the truck.
Authorities said they ran several variations of the partial tag number into law enforcement databases, and came up with a possible registered owner who lived in Lake Hamilton.
Law enforcement went to a Lake Hamilton address, where a white Chevy Silverado truck was parked. Officials confirmed that truck is the one that took suspects to the Days Inn motel, located at 43700 US Highway 27 in Davenport, where the victim was shot.
“Some people still think that marijuana is a low-level, non-violent drug,” said Sheriff Grady Judd in a news release. “I call marijuana a violent drug – this is the second person shot and killed in two days in this county while involved in an illegal drug transaction. We need to solve this homicide before someone else is murdered.”
On Tuesday, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office reported that a 19-year-old man was fatally shot at a Bartow residence where the victim and his 18-year-old friend thought they were going to get “free” marijuana.
If you have information regarding this crime and wish to remain anonymous, contact Heartland Crime Stoppers at call 1-800-226 TIPS (8477), or visit the website www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com .
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