The fatal shooting Wednesday is just one of several gang incidents this year the police are trying to contain.


10 News is digging deeper into Lakeland's violent gang problems, after gunfire rang out leaving a 14-year-old dead and a 43-year-old in the hospital as neighbors dodged bullets.

Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

The shooting happened Wednesday night at a duplex off Oregon Avenue. Police say the teenager, a known gang member, banged on a resident's door and opened fire. That man had a gun and fired back killing the teen.

Lakeland has been dealing with gang problems all year.

Lakeland Police work to end problems with gang violence after a 14-year-old, known gang member is killed.

On Feb. 25, Damarco Powell, 17, was shot in the back of the head and left to die. Police say they found texts between gang members that Powell "needed to be plucked."

From April 26 to May 1, four teenagers were shot in drive-by shootings. In June, three people were shot in more drive-by shootings.

WTSP CRIME GUIDELINES: How station covers crime cases

Neighbors on Oregon Avenue say Wednesday night's shooting hits too close to home.

"A bullet went through this window," says neighbor Devon McIntyre.

A barrage of bullets hit McIntyre's home: one went through a bedroom window, another hit a tree, and a third bullet pierced through the front door.

His mom had been lying in bed when the bullets started flying. "All of a sudden, I heard gunfire so I just rolled on the floor," she said.

When the gunfire stopped, teenager Davion Smith wound up dead at her front door. "There was a boy there lying on his back and was shot," she said.

BACKGROUND:Shooting sparks gang concerns

Their neighbor, Virgis Canteen, 43, survived being shot several times.

Investigators believe the teen had burglarized Canteen's home last week. Canteen tells police Smith and fellow gang members had been taunting him, then came pounding on his door and opened fire first.

"They need to do something. They need to crack down on who's giving all these kids these guns," says neighbor Armanda Johnson.

"We are shocked. The community is shocked," says Sgt. Gary Gross from the Lakeland Police Department. "It's something that Lakeland is not proud of, but we're going to make a difference. We're going to turn this thing around."

RESPONSE:Task force targets Lakeland gangs

After several gang-related shootings, police tell 10 News they started a community task force, and assigned school resource officers to patrol the problem area this summer. Now police fear the gang has relocated a couple of miles away to the McIntyre's neighborhood.

"What it looks like is we may have displaced some of those gangs. They're in a new area that we need to look at," Gross said.

"We all need to come together as a community and take back our community," Johnson said.

Investigators are still waiting to talk to Canteen in the hospital to decide if he will face charges for the shooting. He may be protected by the "stand your ground" law.

GET IN TOUCH:Contact Lakeland police

10 News has learned this isn't the first time Smith has been involved in a shooting. He was arrested for armed robbery and attempted murder for another shooting in Polk County in December 2012.

A 79-year-old man was shot at a farmers' market in Lakeland when he wouldn't sell a gun to Smith and a group of teens. Smith was charged as a juvenile, and therefore, the state attorney's office can't say how the case was resolved.

Read or Share this story: