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Polk sheriff: 18-year-old arrested after firing 28 bullets, striking another teen in the back

The teen shot in the back is "expected to make a full recovery," the sheriff's office explains.
Credit: Polk County Sheriff's Office
Vincent Smith

BARTOW, Fla. — An 18-year-old was arrested after shooting another teen in the back following a fight in unincorporated Bartow, the Polk County Sheriff's Office reports.

On Monday, detectives took Vincent Smith, 18, into custody for three counts of attempted first-degree murder and other related charges after he reportedly fired bullets at a car – striking a 17-year-old Eagle Lake teen.

An investigation and witness statements helped the agency figure out that around 10:45 p.m. on Saturday, the 17-year-old was hanging out with two friends near Surveyors Lake where Smith also was. The teen eventually noticed a red laser pointed toward them.

After seeing the laser, the 17-year-old said they needed to leave "because he believed someone may have a gun," the sheriff's office explains in a news release.

This was when Smith walked up to the 17-year-old and started to argue about the laser light, according to deputies. The agency says the 18-year-old then punched the teen in the face, pulled out a gun from his waistband and pointed it at him.

The 17-year-old started to walk back to a car with his two friends and leave the area. But when driving away, deputies say Smith "fired several rounds" at the car – one eventually striking the 17-year-old in the back.

The teen told his friends he had been shot, and they drove him to a local hospital where he's being treated for his injuries.

"He is expected to make a full recovery," the sheriff's office explains in the release.

On scene, crime scene investigators found 28 shell casings.

“The victims in this shooting tried to leave when the argument became heated, but Smith let his anger turn violent," Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement. "Now a teenager has been shot, and Smith faces a lengthy prison sentence.” 

Detectives later found Smith at a house in Auburndale and arrested him. He's currently in the Polk County Jail facing the following charges:

  • Attempted first-degree murder (FL) (3 counts)
  • Shooting into an occupied vehicle (F2)
  • Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (F3)
  • Tampering with evidence (F3)
  • Carrying a concealed firearm (F3)
  • Criminal mischief (F3)
  • Improper exhibition of a firearm (M1)
  • Discharging a firearm in public (M1)
  • Battery (M1)

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