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Lakeland police chief: 10 people hurt in shooting; search ongoing for gunmen

It's believed the shooters targeted specific people, the police chief said, who added that there's no apparent threat to the public.

LAKELAND, Fla. — A search for several gunmen is ongoing after Lakeland police say a shooting injured a total of 10 men, with two suffering critical injuries.

A dark blue four-door Nissan slowly pulled up around 3:45 p.m. Monday at a location near Iowa Avenue North and Plum Street; its windows were put down and at least four gunmen opened fire on the 10 adults, Lakeland Police Chief Sam Taylor said during an evening news conference.

"They [the gunmen] started firing from all four windows of the vehicle and shooting the males on both sides of the street," Taylor said. "One [of the people shot] is in surgery and the other is either in surgery or headed to surgery.

"The other eight victims have non-life-threatening injuries." 

Taylor said the car then sped away from the area northbound on Iowa Avenue and then went eastbound on Memorial Boulevard.

He believes the incident was a targeted shooting. No arrests have been made, and the Lakeland Police Department is currently searching for the car and gunmen. Although there was a heavy law enforcement presence in the area Monday night, Taylor stressed there is no threat to the public.

A quantity of marijuana was found at the shooting, Taylor said, who believes the shooting may have stemmed from a drug exchange.

"This is something that doesn't happen in Lakeland," Taylor said. "I've been here 34 years, and I have never worked an event where this many people have been shot at one time." 

Some of the men injured in the shooting, who range from 20-30 years old, are cooperating with police and others are not, according to authorities. 

"We are certainly cognizant of that and aware of that [of the shooting being gang-related]," Taylor said. "I don't want to dismiss that as a possibility."

No weapons were found at the scene of the shooting, but police say a rifle was located in one of the cars that transported an injured man to the hospital.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call 911 or Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS. A $5,000 reward is being offered to anyone who can help lead to the arrest of any of the gunmen.

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