Florida

Vehicle believed to be involved in Leesburg murder found, detectives actively working the case

LEESBURG, Fla.—Leesburg Police Department has located a vehicle believed to be involved in the murder of a 20-year-old man Monday.

James Jordan was found lying in the yard of a home in the 2200 block of Aitken Loop in Overlook at Lake Griffin around 2:30 p.m. Monday suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported to UF Health Leesburg, where he died from his injuries, LPD Sgt. Shannon Walsh said.

LPD located and seized the vehicle believed to be involved, and executed search warrants on the vehicle and the location it was recovered from, Walsh said. LPD has not released the location, or the make and model of the vehicle.

“Several items of evidentiary value were recovered,” Walsh said in an email. “Detectives continue to work on this case actively.”

If you have information on Jordan’s death, call LPD at 352-787-2121 or Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS; Crimeline callers may be eligible for a reward.

Previous story: Man dies after being found with multiple gunshot wounds in Leesburg yard – Inside Lake

Vehicle believed to be involved in Leesburg murder found, detectives actively working the case Read More »

Man dies after being found with multiple gunshot wounds in Leesburg yard

LEESBURG, Fla.—Leesburg Police Department is investigating after a 20-year-old man was found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds Monday afternoon.

LPD responded to Aitkin Loop in Overlook at Lake Griffin around 2:30 p.m. Monday in reference to a shooting and found James Jordan in the front yard of a home in the 2200 block, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, LPD Sgt. Shannon Walsh said.

Officers rendered aid to Jordan until EMS and Leesburg Fire Department arrived and Jordan was transported to UF Health Leesburg, where he succumbed to his injuries.

LPD set up a perimeter and utilized a K9 unit and LPD detectives and CSI responded to the scene, Walsh said.

If you have information on Jordan’s death, call LPD at 352-787-2121 or Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS; Crimeline callers may be eligible for a reward.

This is LPD’s second homicide in just over a month. On May 30, Raied “Ray” Shihadeh, 51, was shot and killed at Fast Stop Superette, 3702 Picciola Road, on May 30 during an armed robbery of the store. Alex Lopez was arrested for the crime late last month and is being held on no bond at the Lake County Jail.

Man dies after being found with multiple gunshot wounds in Leesburg yard Read More »

Father of young girl found dead in Montverde last month arrested on unrelated charges

TAVARES, Fla.—The father of a young girl found dead in Montverde last month was arrested last week on unrelated charges out of Polk County, according to Lake County Sheriff’s Office online booking records.

Lojuan Jamario Sessions, 26, father of 9-year-old Jamaria Sessions, was picked up at his job in Eustis Wednesday by Eustis Police Department on two warrants for violating probation, stemming from a 2019 Polk County case.

In January 2019, Sessions was accused of fleeing from a Haines City Police Department officer after the officer found a bag of drugs, later determined to be amphetamine, in plain view in the vehicle Sessions was driving during a traffic stop, according to an arrest affidavit.

The officer put the bag of suspected drugs on the roof of Sessions’ vehicle, and asked Sessions to step out. Sessions put the vehicle in drive, took off, struck a vehicle being driven by an undercover Polk County deputy and then crashed into a palm tree. Sessions’ current girlfriend was in the passenger seat with a small unrestrained child in her lap, and three young girls were in the back seat—not wearing seatbelts.

Sessions was arrested for four counts of child neglect, possession of amphetamine with intent to sell, trafficking in amphetamine, possession of a vehicle while trafficking drugs, possession of marijuana, fleeing a law enforcement officer a at high speed, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving on a suspended license.

He later pleaded guilty, according to Polk County Clerk of Court records, and was sentenced to five years in prison followed by five years of probation. He is accused of violating his probation, but details of the violations were not available Monday evening.

Sessions was released from prison in August 2023, and according to Jamaria’s uncle, Joseph Robinson, Jamaria and her younger sister, 5, had been living with their father since October 2023. Before that, the sisters were living with their grandmother, Althea Chenault, following the death of their mother, Tadrina Dort. Dort died from congestive heart failure in 2022 after beating leukemia; she was just 24 years old.

Jamaria Sessions. Photo courtesy of Joseph Robinson and Althea Chenault

The girls began living with Sessions after he picked them up from school without Chenault’s knowledge or consent in October 2023 and they lived with him until Jamaria’s death on June 17. Jamaria’s 5-year-old sister, who Inside Lake is not naming, is staying with another family member.

No arrests have been made in Jamaria’s death and LCSO has released few details, only calling her death a “homicide investigation.”

“The death investigation is being treated as a homicide until the results are retrieved from the autopsy by the Medical Examiner’s office,” LCSO Cpl. Chanel Martin told Inside Lake last month.  “When the cause and manner are returned explaining the death, a determination will be made on proceeding forward.”

LCSO online records show Sessions was released from the Lake County Jail Monday and Martin told Inside Lake he was turned over to Polk County Sheriff’s Office. At press time, Sessions had not been booked into the Polk County Jail.

Previous stories: Death of 9-year-old girl being treated as a homicide investigation, maternal family says – Inside Lake

Child found deceased at Montverde home, Medical Examiner to determine cause of death – Inside Lake

Father of young girl found dead in Montverde last month arrested on unrelated charges Read More »

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 »

Lady Lake police investigating after man found dead in golf cart Sunday night

LADY LAKE, Fla.—Lady Lake Police Department is investigating after a man was found dead in a golf cart Sunday night.

The 59-year-old man, whose name has not been released, was found after LLPD responded to 1 LaGrande Boulevard and found him unresponsive around 10 p.m. Sunday.

“There were no signs of foul play, however the cause of death is unknown. Police do not believe there is any cause for alarm to the community,” Town of Lady Lake Spokesperson Elisha Pappacoda said in an email.

If you have any information on the man’s death, call LLPD at 352-751-1565.

Lady Lake police investigating after man found dead in golf cart Sunday night Read More »

Astatula man killed Friday morning after rear-ending dump truck in Orange County

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla.—A 30-year-old Astatula man was killed before daybreak Friday morning after he rear-ended a dump truck near Zellwood, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Shortly after 5:30 a.m., the Astatula man was driving a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado westbound on Jones Avenue near Jewel Foliage Road when he entered the eastbound lane, traveling above the posted speed limit, to pass another vehicle, FHP said.

He reentered the westbound lane, failed to slow down and rear-ended a 1985 dump truck being driven by a 38-year-old Eustis man. The Astatula man was transported to AdventHealth Apopka and pronounced deceased; the Eustis man was not injured.

Astatula man killed Friday morning after rear-ending dump truck in Orange County Read More »

Accused murderer back in Lake County

TAVARES, Fla.—The man police believe is responsible for the murder of a Leesburg store owner was booked into the Lake County Jail Friday morning.

Alex Lopez, 25, is facing charges of premeditated murder, armed robbery and two other weapons offenses, and is being held on no bond.

Lopez was on the run for nearly a month, while Leesburg Police Department worked with state, federal and local agencies to track him down and finally located him at a motel in Kissimmee around 7 p.m. Wednesday, Leesburg Police Department Sgt. Shannon Walsh said. He was taken into custody by the FDLE/Orlando – Violent Crime Task Force.

“We located him using collaborative investigative measures,” Walsh told Inside Lake.

Lopez is accused of gunning down father of five, Raied “Ray” Shihadeh, 51, at Fast Stop Superette, 3702 Picciola Road, on May 30 during an armed robbery of the store. LPD will not confirm how much money was taken in the robbery, but a post created by Shihadeh’s wife, Monique, on a fundraising platform states it was less than $100. In the same post, Monique also stated her husband was killed on their daughter’s 16th birthday, making an already tragic situation much more heartbreaking.

Raied “Ray” Shihadeh. Photo courtesy of Monique Shihadeh

Inside Lake spoke with Monique by text Thursday and she said, “Our family is happy about his capture. We are preparing for this continuous and long journey that we will be on but praying for strength.”

Monique posted about her husband in numerous Facebook groups throughout the last few weeks asking for help locating Lopez and informing the public of a reward offered by Crimeline, in addition to money raised and added to the reward by her family.

Lopez grew up in Eustis and Sorrento, several sources have told Inside Lake. His next court date is scheduled for July 22.

Previous story: Leesburg murder suspect captured in Kissimmee – Inside Lake

Photos courtesy of Monique Shihadeh

Accused murderer back in Lake County Read More »

Leesburg murder suspect captured in Kissimmee

LEESBURG, Fla.—The man accused of gunning down a Leesburg store owner late last month is in custody, according to Leesburg Police Department.

Alex Lopez, 25, of Wildwood, was captured in Kissimmee by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Violent Crimes Task Force, LPD Sgt. Shannon Walsh said.

On the run for nearly a month, Lopez is accused of killing Raied Shihadeh, 51, at Fast Stop Superette, 3702 Picciola Road, on May 30 and fleeing the scene. Shihadeh was airlifted to HCA Florida Ocala Hospital, where he died from his injuries, Walsh said last month.

Lopez is facing charges of premeditated murder, armed robbery, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and using a firearm during a felony.

Previous stories: Leesburg police identify murder suspect, need public’s help finding him – Inside Lake

Leesburg robbery and shooting victim dies overnight, suspect on the run – Inside Lake

VIDEO: Leesburg Police release surveillance video of store robbery – Inside Lake

One shot in robbery at Leesburg store Thursday night, Leesburg Police searching for suspect – Inside Lake

Leesburg murder suspect captured in Kissimmee Read More »

Leesburg man accused of exposing himself on busy highway during road rage incident Sunday

LEESBURG, Fla.—A man was arrested after he was accused of exposing his genitals to three people in the middle of the day on a busy highway during a road rage incident Sunday afternoon.

Shortly before 3:15 p.m. Sunday, a Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputy responded to a report of a road rage incident and indecent exposure. One of the victims told the deputy they were traveling northbound on U.S. Highway 27 when they slowed due to heavy rain, according to an arrest affidavit.

A speeding silver Kia Optima swerved around their vehicle and cut them off. The Optima continued to be operated “aggressively,” speeding up and coming to a complete stop in front of victims’ vehicle, then driving beside them while someone threw objects and screamed at them, one of the victims told LCSO.

The victims pulled over at the intersection of U.S. Highway 27 and Plantation Boulevard to get the make, model and license plate of the Optima when it pulled over ahead of them. The driver, later identified as James Cary Box, 56, got out and began to charge toward the victims’ car, the affidavit states.

Box then allegedly pulled his shorts down to his knees and exposed his genitals, grabbing them with both hands and shaking them toward the victims. Two of the three victims screamed and looked away, and Box apparently left the scene.

One of the victims provided photos of the Optima and Box to the deputy, and when the deputy went to Box’s Leesburg home, he was still wearing the same clothes, according to the affidavit. Box denied being involved in a road rage incident and said the victims must be confused. He was arrested for exposure of sexual organs and transported to the Lake County Jail, where he was released on $1,000 bond.

Leesburg man accused of exposing himself on busy highway during road rage incident Sunday Read More »

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