Altoona

Medical examiner: Self-inflicted gunshot killed Altoona man found in burning home Saturday

ALTOONA, Fla.—The man found dead in his burning home Saturday took his own life, according to the medical examiner, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said Monday.

Michael Gall, 49, was found dead in his home at 20332 Wood Duck Road in Altoona around 1 p.m. Saturday, LCSO Lt. John Herrell said. LCSO and Lake County Fire responded to the home after reports it was on fire and LCFR found Gall dead in the home.

The medical examiner performed an autopsy Sunday and preliminary findings showed Gall died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Herrell.

If you are struggling or having suicidal thoughts, help is available by calling the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 on your cell phone. Local counseling is also available, visit MIKE Endowment | Mental Health | Suicide | Awareness | Lake County | FL (themikeendowment.org).

Previous story: Man found dead in burning Altoona home Saturday – Inside Lake

Medical examiner: Self-inflicted gunshot killed Altoona man found in burning home Saturday Read More »

Man found dead in burning Altoona home Saturday

ALTOONA, Fla.—The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a man was found dead in a burning home Saturday afternoon.

LCSO and Lake County Fire Rescue responded to 20332 Wood Duck Road, Altoona around 1 p.m. on reports the home was on fire. LCFR removed a deceased male from the home, and authorities found he had an apparent gunshot wound, according to LCSO Lt. John Herrell.

The man, identified as Michael Gall, 49, lived at the home and detectives are conducting a death investigation, Herrell said; no other information was released.

Man found dead in burning Altoona home Saturday Read More »

5th Annual Lake County Back the Blue (and Red) Walk scheduled for Saturday; Firefighters added this year

TAVARES, Florida—For the fifth year in a row, law enforcement and supporters will join forces for the annual Lake County Back the Blue Walk at Wooton Park Saturday morning, and this year firefighters will join the fun. 

Scheduled for 9 a.m., this is one of many law enforcement events around Lake County held in May during Law Enforcement Appreciation Month and this year, Organizer Shannon Cook wanted to add firefighters to the appreciation walk to coincide with the Lake County Board of County Commissioners proclaiming May 4 “International Firefighters’ Day” in Lake County, she told Inside Lake.

“I figured what better day to honor our heroes in red,” Cook said.

The walk began in 2019 to show support for law enforcement during a time when the “defund the police” movement was making its way across the country, Cook said, representatives from several law enforcement agencies and numerous public officials are expected to be in attendance.

“The good ones needed to know they were appreciated,” Cook said.

Ryan Koester, son of fallen Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Wayne Koester, left, and Deputy Koester’s brother Vic, right, at the 2023 Back the Blue Walk PHOTO: Shannon Cook

Cook’s close friend, Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Wayne Koester, was killed in the line of duty Feb. 9, 2005. Koester, who was 33 at the time, and two other deputies were ambushed while responding to a domestic violence call. All three deputies were shot, and Koester succumbed to his injuries; the other two deputies recovered. Jason Wheeler was shot and paralyzed during his capture and convicted in Koester’s death. Cook was also close to Chris Daniels, who was serving as Lake County Sheriff when he was tragically killed in a charity bus race in 2006, on his birthday.

Participants will meet at 9 a.m. at Wooton Park, 100 East Ruby Street, Tavares. The first stop will be the Lake County Administration Building, then a stop at the Tavares Public Safety Complex and the walk will end at Kalua Beach Bar with lunch, provided by owner Randy Connor; come a little early to enjoy donuts and coffee donated by Greg Wilmore of New Life Baptist Church Leesburg. 

 

5th Annual Lake County Back the Blue (and Red) Walk scheduled for Saturday; Firefighters added this year Read More »

Benefit for LCSO Deputy Diagnosed with Cancer Scheduled for Saturday

EUSTIS, Fla.—An event to benefit a Lake County Sheriff’s Office school resource deputy who was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year is scheduled for Saturday.

What started as chest pain in 2022 turned into a terrifying diagnosis last summer for LCSO Cpl. Adam Tytler. In November 2022, Tytler went to a cardiologist for ongoing chest pain, and after a EKG showed his heart was in good shape, the cardiologist told him the pain was likely gastrointestinal. The next month, on Christmas Eve, Tytler discovered a swollen lymph node on his neck and by February the lymph node had not gotten any better. He was also suffering from a sinus infection at the time and went to his primary care doctor for treatment and mentioned the lymph node. The doctor chalked it up to the infection, but during the spring Tytler’s chest pain continued and had also moved to his back, and then he began to find swollen lymph nodes on his chest.

Tytler went through a battery of tests and upon reviewing the results, his doctor said it was likely cancer. Tytler sought a second opinion from the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa and his fears were confirmed when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma in June 2023.

Tytler, his wife Tiffany, and two daughters, Shay 17, Lily, 14, are currently splitting their time between Mount Dora and Tampa for treatment and it is taking a financial toll on the family while already dealing with an emotional roller coaster. Tytler said he came forward with his struggle because cancer affects millions of people and often they go through it alone.

“I would have given up if it weren’t for my faith, my family and the support from the school resource deputy unit,” Tytler said. “I only wanted for those who are struggling to know they are not alone. Not now. Not ever and to never give up.”

Tytler’s struggle inspired Shannon Cook, organizer of Lake County’s annual Back the Blue Walk, and LCSO Lt. Kristin Thompson to create the benefit scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at That Place, 925 North Bay Street, Eustis.

Dinners will be available for purchase, along with an auction of numerous items, including a Back the Blue basket with items from multiple Lake County law enforcement agencies, tickets to various events, like New Kids on the Block concert tickets and Richard Petty Driving Experience, along with a Yeti cooler packed with alcohol, various craft items made by local residents, a high-end fishing pole and numerous other items. A poker scramble is also scheduled to start at 9 a.m. at Gator Harley-Davidson, 1745 U.S. Highway 441, Leesburg, and will include five stops, ending at That Place, Cook told Inside Lake.

Tytler has spent nearly his entire adult life at LCSO, and most recently worked as a corporal in the school resource deputy unit. He prevented a shooting on the Eustis High School campus during the 2018-2019 school year and was awarded the Lake County Officer of the Year in 2019 for his efforts.

He said he is excited he has only one treatment left, and it has been a difficult journey. “Truthfully, it’s been challenging and difficult treatment-wise, not just for me but my family also,” Tytler said.

He will have to wait until after the new year to find out if he is cancer-free, he said.

Tytler told Inside Lake saying thank you to all those who have helped him, and contributed to the benefit will never be enough.

“My family and I are so appreciative and overwhelmed of the outpouring of love and support from everyone. Especially from people I’ve never met,” he said.

For more information on the benefit, visit Corporal Adam Tytler Benefit.

Benefit for LCSO Deputy Diagnosed with Cancer Scheduled for Saturday Read More »

Man Arrested at Downtown Eustis Park Less than 12 Hours After He was Trespassed

EUSTIS, Florida—An Altoona man remains in the Lake County Jail after trespassing at a downtown Eustis park less than 12 hours after he was told to stay away by Eustis Police Department.

EPD officers trespassed Wayne Anthony Sarlo, 47, from Ferran Park in downtown Eustis at 8:45 p.m. Friday and around 8:30 a.m. Saturday an EPD sergeant spotted Sarlo and thought he looked suspicious. Upon checking Sarlo’s name, the sergeant found Sarlo had just been trespassed from the park the night before.

Sarlo was arrested and transported to LCJ, where he is being held on $1,000 bond.

Man Arrested at Downtown Eustis Park Less than 12 Hours After He was Trespassed Read More »

Alligator Attack Closes Alexander Springs

ALTOONA, Florida—Alexander Springs, a popular swimming hole, closed unexpectedly Monday after a man was bitten by an alligator, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC.)

The unidentified man was swimming near the spring head when the alligator bit his left arm and shoulder area Monday afternoon, FWC Officer Chad Weber told Inside Lake.

An alligator that was 7 feet 6 inches long was captured by a trapper, but FWC is still investigating the incident, according to Weber. Earlier this month, Alexander Springs was closed for several days due to a female alligator and a nest that was found near the swimming area.

According to the U.S. Forest Service the victim suffered puncture wounds and lacerations and he transported himself for medical care.

Alligator Attack Closes Alexander Springs Read More »

Person Airlifted After Being Rescued from Fire Sunday Night, Deputy Transported

ALTOONA, Florida—One person was rescued and airlifted for treatment and a Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputy was transported to the hospital following a structure fire Sunday night, according to Umatilla Fire Department.

Numerous agencies responded to the fire in addition to UFD and LCSO, including Eustis Fire Department, Leesburg Fire Department, Lake County Fire Rescue, Marion County Fire Rescue and Lake EMS, a UFD social media post stated. An exact address for the fire was unavailable at press time, but numerous social media posts and comments said the fire was in the Shockley Heights area.

UFD was first on the scene of the fire that had one person trapped inside. The unidentified person was rescued and airlifted to a local hospital and a deputy was transported to an area hospital to get checked out, according to UFD. The fire was extinguished.

Person Airlifted After Being Rescued from Fire Sunday Night, Deputy Transported Read More »

Late Night Head-On Crash Kills Eustis Man and Altoona Woman Saturday

TAVARES, Florida—Two people are dead following a head-crash on a busy Tavares Road Saturday night.

Shortly before 10:45 pm. Tavares Police Department responded to a report of a crash near County Road 561 and Lona Street. According to witnesses and evidence on scene, a 2019 black Nissan Sentra being driven by Scott Alexander Sawyer, 29, of Eustis, was speeding northbound on County Road 561 and attempted to pass vehicles on a double yellow line. He struck a 2008 gray Mazda Tribute head-on being driven southbound by Lindsay Marie Baker, 26, of Altoona, TPD Public Information Officer Courtney Sullivan told Inside Lake.

“Several area first responders responded to the scene in an attempt to render aid and assist with the investigation,” Sullivan said in an email.

Baker and Sawyer were both pronounced deceased following the crash and TPD traffic homicide investigators responded to the scene and took over the investigation, Sullivan said.

The crash shut down County Road 561 for several hours and remains under investigation.

Late Night Head-On Crash Kills Eustis Man and Altoona Woman Saturday Read More »

13-year-old Boy Killed in Tragic Bicycle Crash Identified, Family Sets Up Fund for Funeral Expenses

ALTOONA, Florida—The teenage boy tragically killed Thursday afternoon on State Road 19 has been identified on social media by his family.

Dylan Kelley, 13, was riding his bicycle southbound on the paved shoulder of State Road 19 when he veered into the path of a Ford F-250 for an unknown reason near Shockley Trail Road and his home in Altoona, shortly after 5 p.m. He was pronounced deceased on the scene, Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Channing Taylor said Thursday.

Dylan, described as outgoing and loving, always took care of his family, a post on a gofundme account states. Dylan’s family set up the account Friday morning to assist with Dylan’s funeral expenses.

To donate, visit Help pay for Dylan’s funeral expenses.

13-year-old Boy Killed in Tragic Bicycle Crash Identified, Family Sets Up Fund for Funeral Expenses Read More »

Teen Riding Bicycle Killed in Altoona Thursday

ALTOONA, Florida—A 13-year-old Altoona boy was killed Thursday afternoon when the bicycle he was riding veered into the path of a truck, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The boy was riding his bicycle southbound on the paved shoulder of State Road 19 when he veered into the path of a white Ford F-250 also traveling southbound on State Road 19 at 5:10 p.m. near Shockley Trail Road, FHP Lt. Channing Taylor said in a press release.

The teen was pronounced deceased on the scene. The 33-year-old Oxford man driving the truck was not injured and remained on scene, Taylor said. The crash closed State Road 19 for several hours.

The crash remains under investigation.  

MAP: Florida Highway Patrol

Teen Riding Bicycle Killed in Altoona Thursday Read More »

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