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Police: Dispute at Polk County tow truck company leaves 1 dead, another injured

Investigators say a man trying to get his car from the impound lot was shot in the head by the owner.
Credit: Alexey Novikov - stock.adobe.com

MULBERRY, Fla. — A Lakeland man is behind bars after police say an argument at a tow truck company turned deadly.

The Lakeland Police Department says deputies from the Polk County Sheriff's Office and first responders from Polk Fire were called out around 6:15 p.m. Monday to Virginia Street for a report of a shooting. 

Once on scene, police say a man was found lying in the front yard of Strapped Transport Towing and Recovery with a gunshot wound to the head, while another person was found with injuries from being hit by a car.

Both were taken to an area hospital where the man who had been shot was pronounced dead; and the person hit by a car is in stable condition, according to a press release.

Investigators say it all started when the man arrived at the business to get his car that had been impounded the day before. While completing the process to release his car, officers say the man was informed he'd have to wait for a tow truck to arrive and pull it out of the lot.

That's when police say Michael Shane Denn II, 29, who owns the business, showed up and asked the man to wait for his car off the property.

A verbal dispute began between Denn, the man there for his car and a second unnamed person before the man got into his car and backed it into the roadway, according to law enforcement.

Investigators say, once in the roadway the unnamed person started punching the driver in the face and shutting the car door to prevent him from getting out.

Eventually, officers say the driver was able to get away but turned around and came back.

The driver sped toward Denn and the unnamed person, who were still standing in the road, and sent the unnamed person airborne after hitting them with his car, according to a press release.

Police say the driver then got out of the car to run away from Denn when Denn fired three shots. The third round hit the driver in the head, according to the police department.

"The evidence at the scene suggests the suspect was tracking the decedent and shooting at the decedent as the decedent was attempting to flee the roadway and seek cover from the suspect," the Lakeland Police Department wrote.

Denn reportedly told police that he did not witness any weapons on the man killed, did not hear him make any threats and could not recall where his hands were when the bullet struck him.

Denn faces a charge of second-degree murder.

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