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10 people shot in FL drive-by shooting, 2 critical

Crime scene tape and police lights. (Dreamstime/TNS)
January 31, 2023

At least 10 people were injured in a drive-by shooting Monday afternoon in Lakeland, Florida, with two in critical condition.

Around 3:43 p.m., shots were fired from a dark blue, four-door Nissan sedan that pulled up near the intersection of North Iowa Avenue and Plum Street, Lakeland Police Department Chief Sam Taylor said at a press conference.

“The vehicle slowed, did not stop, and the four windows went down. It appeared to be occupied by four shooters in the vehicle,” Taylor said. “They started firing from all four windows of the vehicle and shooting males on both sides of the street.”

After the shooting, the vehicle took off northbound at a high speed and was lost after turning right onto Memorial Boulevard, one of the city’s main roads, Taylor said.

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He said all the victims were adult males “described as between the ages of 20 and 35.” One victim in critical condition was shot in the abdomen, and the other was shot in the face near his jaw, Taylor said.

Taylor said police “have reason to believe this was a targeted event” and not a “random act.” He said “a quantity of marijuana” was found at the scene and suggested the shooting may have been a drug sale gone awry.

“Whether that is significant or related to this is unknown right now,” he said.

He said police were “actively searching” for the vehicle, which had tinted windows and a “temporary tag.” On Monday night, the department offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. 

Taylor said the incident was unlike anything he’d seen in his 34 years with the police department.

“This is something that doesn’t happen in Lakeland,” he said. “We consider ourselves to be a small town … and when stuff like this happens, it just kind of hits home to me a little bit that maybe we’re not a small town anymore.”

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.