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Police Say Suspect Shot Man 6 Times Outside Winter Haven Apartment

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A Winter Haven man is in the Polk County Jail facing a Felony charge of Aggravated Battery With a Weapon after he shot a man six times outside of his apartment.

On Monday, Sept. 25, 2023, 26 year-old Ki’Jana Devane Thomas (DOB 12/8/96) called 9-1-1 stating that he had just shot someone outside of his 19th St SE apartment. When officers arrived at the residence, they made contact with Thomas. Additional officers heading to the location found the victim in the parking lot of the Dollar General where he had run from the original scene.

Thomas told officers he was inside of his residence when the victim knocked on the door. Thomas stated the victim asked Thomas if he wanted to “drink and chill”, but Thomas told the victim to get away from the residence. The two have had negative encounters in the past and Thomas had told the victim to stay away from him and his residence. At this point, Thomas proceeded to walk towards the victim while the victim was walking backwards towards the street. Thomas then produced a firearm from his pocket and fired at the victim striking him six times. The victim ran from the area ending up at the Dollar General where officers located him.

Thomas told officers that the victim began to “charge” at him and aggressively run towards him and he was in fear for his life. One witness in the area saw Thomas with his arm extended out pointing a gun, but didn’t see who or what the gun was pointed towards. The witness then heard gunshots and ran inside their residence.

The victim was airlifted to Lakeland Regional Health where he remains in critical, but stable condition.

“All Mr. Thomas needed to do was close the door and ignore the victim or at least call us to intervene,” said Chief David Brannan. “Instead he decided to use a firearm taking matters into his own hands possibly endangering other citizens in the area.”

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