A Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office K-9 Unit tracked down and captured a pair of violent suspects early Friday morning near Plant City.
Charles Vernon Smith Jr. and Joshua Seth Coleman are being held without bond at the Hillsborough County Jail. They pair are facing a variety of charges including armed robbery and assault with a firearm.
According to a HCSO report Smith Jr., 34, and Coleman, 19, allegedly kicked open the back door of a residence in the 4200 block of Cooper Rd. in Plant City just after 11:30 p.m. Thursday.
Investigators say the armed men shot three occupants of the home and beat a fourth with a gun. As deputies were arriving on scene they observed a maroon Mercury Sports Utility Vehicle pulling out of the driveway at a high rate of speed.
At least two units followed the SUV north on Cooper Rd. where it crashed through a fence and got stuck in a swampy area.
K9 Deuce was dispatched to the scene and tracked both suspects. Deuce and Deputy Charles Perdomo - his handler - found Smith Jr. a half-mile away from the SUV hiding underneath the surface of the water. The convicted felon had a semi-automatic pistol in his possession.
Deuce and Deputy Perdomo tracked Coleman in a different direction and also found him hiding underneath the water in possession of a semi-automatic handgun.
All four home invasion victims were transported to Lakeland Regional Medical Center for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.
The elder suspect has an extensive arrest record that goes back nearly two decades. Smith Jr. was last released from state prison in February after serving 27 months on an aggravated assault conviction out of Hillsborough County.
His prior arrests also include burglary, grand theft and willful fleeing to elude charges.
Coleman was arrested by HCSO in January on grand theft, fleeing to elude, petit theft and burglary charges.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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