Lakeland Police investigate shooting

LAKELAND, FL -- Lakeland Police Department received a call on July 19, 2014 at approximately 7:34 a.m., regarding shots fired into a residence located at 1301 Golconda Rd.

The caller advised that two black males were seen shooting into the house and that they fled the area in a white vehicle occupied by two other black males.

Uniformed officers arrived on the scene and discovered that the victim, 50-year-old Leith Watkins, had been sleeping in his bed with his girlfriend when he was struck in both feet by one of the shots. Watkins was treated at the scene by Lakeland Fire Department and Polk County Fire Rescue and transported to Lakeland Regional Medical Center with a non-life threatening injury.

Shortly after, the description of the suspect vehicle was broadcast, Officer Scianimanico observed a vehicle matching the description on N. Florida Av. He followed the vehicle until backup arrived and executed a traffic stop in the 1400 block of N. Kettles Av.

During the stop, the left rear passenger of the vehicle, Mario Garrett, fled on foot. After a short chase, he was apprehended. A .380 handgun was found a short distance away from the apprehension.

All other occupants of the vehicle were detained at the scene.

Although the witness could not identify the shooters, the vehicle was positively identified; therefore, impounded as evidence. Inside the vehicle was a .38 caliber handgun which was believed to be used in the shooting.

The driver of the vehicle was identified as 34-year-old Shawndell Artist, and the front seat passenger and registered owner was identified as 34-year-old Joseph Kelly. The right rear passenger was identified as 21-year-old Antonio Pouncey and the left rear was identified as Mario Garrett.

Detectives responded to conduct interviews of the suspects and witnesses.

It was discovered that the two passengers in the rear, Garrett and Pouncey had asked to be taken by a residence near Skate World. Shawndell Artist agreed and was given directions to 1301 Golconda Rd. After stopping across the street from the residence, Garrett and Pouncey exited the vehicle. Pouncey asked Artist to "hold on" while they walked to the residence.

Shortly thereafter, Artist said he heard shots being fired and observed Garrett and Pouncey running back to the vehicle holding handguns. Both subjects got into the back seat of the vehicle and told Artist to drive out of the area. While driving, Artist said that he told Garrett and Pouncey that they needed to get out of the vehicle but they refused and the vehicle was later pulled over by Officer Scianimanico.

Detectives do not believe that this is gang-related and it appears as if the shooting was a result of a disagreement between the victim and Pouncey over another matter.

Both Antonio Maurice Pouncey and Mario Fernando Garrett, Jr., have been arrested and transported to the Polk County Jail.


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