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Jun 19, 2024

Lake Wales man, 21, fatally shot during dispute last night in Lake Wales; shooter in custody

Media Contact: Carrie Horstman, Administrator

The Polk County Sheriff's Office Homicide Unit is investigating a fatal shooting that occurred last evening in Lake Wales.

According to the preliminary investigation so far, 21-year-old Vincent Thomas, Jr., and at least three others drove to a residence on Northside Drive in Lake Wales around 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. Thomas got out of the car armed with a handgun, and confronted a 20-year-old male outside the residence, threatening to shoot him.

The two men went to Lake Wales High together, knew each other, and apparently had some disagreement with each other.

During the altercation, the resident who was confronted by Thomas armed himself with a rifle and shot at Thomas several times, striking him at least twice. The shooter remained at the scene and is cooperating with detectives.

Thomas was driven to Advent Health Lake Wales Hospital by his friends, where he succumbed to his injuries. Two of those friends were arrested by PCSO and charged with tampering with evidence, and providing false information to law enforcement during a felony investigation.

Thomas has prior arrests for battery on law enforcement, threats against a LEO, failure to appear, resisting arrest, and DWLSR. He was on felony probation at the time of this incident.

The investigation is ongoing.

If you have any information regarding this incident and wish to remain anonymous, contact Heartland Crime Stoppers in one of four ways:

CALL 1-888-400 TIPS (8477)
DIAL **TIPS from your cell phone
VISIT the website and click on "Submit A Tip,"
DOWNLOAD the free "P3tips" app on your smartphone or tablet.