Arrests made in shooting of elderly market merchant - FOX 13 News

Arrests made in shooting of elderly market merchant

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Copeland, 18, is the only adult among the group of seven suspects facing charges in the case. Copeland, 18, is the only adult among the group of seven suspects facing charges in the case.
LAKELAND (FOX 13) -

Authorities in Polk County have identified one adult and six juveniles involved in the November 24th shooting of an elderly merchant at the Lakeland Farmer's Market.

All but two of the suspects have been apprehended.

"We have identified seven suspects - five are in custody," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. "All of the suspects responsible for this senseless act of violence will go to jail. Our detectives are working around the clock - this investigation isn't over."

Bernando Copeland, 18, is the only adult among the group. He is facing armed robbery and attempted murder charges. He is being held without bond at the Polk County Jail.

The ages of the other teens involved are 13, 14, 15, 16, 16 and 17.

According to a PCSO report the suspects shot the 79-year-old victim just before 8 a.m. at the Lakeland Farmer's Market located at 2701 Swindell Rd.

The victim suffered a gunshot wound to the stomach and was transported to Lakeland Regional Medical Center. His current condition is not known.

Investigators say two of the suspects originally approached the victim's booth asking to purchase a gun. When he told them would not sell them one they told him ‘they would be back.'

They returned with several friends, shot the merchant and smashed the glass case where he kept the weapons. The victim runs a coins and guns booth at the establishment.

Additional charges may be filed as the investigation continues. Deputies are searching the two suspects who have so far avoided arrest. The missing suspects are the youngest among the group the report states.

 

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