Leesburg

FHP: Boy, 6, seriously injured after jumping from moving SUV near Leesburg

LEESBURG, Fla.—The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating an incident that involved a child jumping out of a moving SUV in unincorporated Leesburg Wednesday, Trooper Migdalisis Garcia said.

A 2007 Dodge Durango was traveling northbound on County Road 33 with its windows down when the 6-year-old boy jumped out near Chipmunk Drive, Garcia said.

The boy was transported to Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children with serious injuries; the driver, a 36-year-old woman from Okahumpka, was not injured. The relationship between the boy and the woman was not released.

The incident remains under investigation.

FHP: Boy, 6, seriously injured after jumping from moving SUV near Leesburg Read More »

Leesburg police identify murder suspect, need public’s help finding him

LEESBURG, Fla.—Leesburg Police Department has identified the man they believe is responsible for a murder and armed robbery Thursday night.

A warrant has been issued for Alex Lopez, 25, of Wildwood for premeditated murder, armed robbery, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and using a firearm during a felony.

Shortly after 9 p.m. Thursday, a man believed to be Lopez, entered Fast Stop Superette, 3702 Picciola Road, and shot Raied Shihadeh, 51. He was airlifted to HCA Florida Ocala Hospital, where he died from his injuries, LPD Sgt. Shannon Walsh said.

The suspect, now identified as Lopez, fled the scene and despite an extensive search by K9 units and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office aviation unit, they were unable to apprehend him, Walsh said.

“Officers and detectives have attempted to locate Lopez since he was identified as a suspect with negative results.  We are now working with local, state, and federal authorities to locate and arrest Lopez,” Walsh said in a press release.

Lopez may be armed and dangerous and police are asking anyone with information on his whereabouts to call them at 352-787-2121 or call Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477.) Crimeline callers may be eligible for a reward.

Leesburg police identify murder suspect, need public’s help finding him Read More »

Leesburg police release new photos of murder suspect in quest to identify him

LEESBURG, Fla.—Leesburg Police Department has released enhanced photos of the suspect who killed a store owner during a robbery Thursday night.

Shortly after 9 p.m. Thursday, the male suspect entered Fast Stop Superette, 3702 Picciola Road, and shot Raied Shihadeh, 51. He was airlifted to HCA Florida Ocala Hospital, where he died from his injuries, LPD Sgt. Shannon Walsh said.

The suspect fled the scene and despite an extensive search by K9 units and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office aviation unit, they were unable to apprehend him, Walsh said.

LPD quickly released a still photo and video following the senseless crime Thursday night and released more photos late Saturday morning in hopes of identifying him.

Police are asking anyone with information or video of the suspect to call them at 352-787-2121.

Previous stories: 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 police release new photos of murder suspect in quest to identify him Read More »

VIDEO: Leesburg Police release surveillance video of store robbery

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story described the possible race of the suspect, Leesburg Police Department has since stated the suspect’s race is unconfirmed. 

LEESBURG, Fla.—Leesburg Police Department has released store surveillance video of an armed robbery and shooting Thursday night.

Police have not identified the man who entered the Fast Stop Superette, 3702 Picciola Road, Leesburg and shot an employee shortly before 9:30 pm. LPD is looking for a male wearing an orange shirt and had his face covered with a pink shirt. The victim was airlifted to a local hospital and the victim’s condition was unknown late Thursday night.

If you have information on the suspect’s identity, call LPD at 352-787-2121.

See video below:

VIDEO: Leesburg Police release surveillance video of store robbery Read More »

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

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story described the possible race of the suspect, Leesburg Police Department has since stated the suspect’s race is unconfirmed. 

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

LEESBURG, Fla.—Leesburg Police Department is searching for a suspect who robbed and shot a store employee Thursday night.

Details were limited at press time, “It’s a very active scene,” LPD Sgt. Shannon Walsh told Inside Lake.

Shortly before 9:30 p.m., Fast Stop Superette, 3702 Picciola Road, Leesburg was robbed, and one person was shot. The victim was airlifted to an area hospital for treatment, Walsh said.

LPD is looking for a male wearing an orange shirt and he also had a pink shirt covering his face.

If you have information, call LPD at 352-787-2121.

 

One shot in robbery at Leesburg store Thursday night, Leesburg Police searching for suspect Read More »

Leesburg selects 30-year veteran as new police chief

LEESBURG—Joe Iozzi, a 30-year veteran of Leesburg Police Department has been named as the city’s new top cop.

Iozzi replaces Rob Hicks, who was promoted earlier this month to deputy city manager. Iozzi began his career at LPD in 1994 and has served as bureau commander for Uniformed Services and Special Services and Investigations. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration from Columbia College and has completed the FBI National Academy, the Southern Police Institute Administrative Officers Course at the University of Louisville and Florida Police Chiefs Association’s “Future Chiefs” seminar.

Iozzi has been a command officer for a decade, supervising and managing personnel matters, department planning, training, policy creation, budgeting, and general department-related functions. Iozzi also served as LPD’s public information officer, working directly with the media.

“His belief in community-oriented policing has successfully developed cohesive relationships with citizens, business owners, elected officials, and community stakeholders throughout his career. He has a diverse understanding of policing concepts critical to all community-driven objectives. Chief Iozzi welcomes the opportunity to lead the men and women of the Leesburg Police Department as Chief of Police, and his nearly three decades of living and working in Leesburg make him a uniquely qualified leader for the position,” the City of Leesburg stated in a social media post.

Leesburg selects 30-year veteran as new police chief Read More »

Pedestrian killed in Sumter crash Friday morning

SUMTER COUNTY, Fla.—A pedestrian was killed Friday morning after being struck by an SUV and a cement truck, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The pedestrian, who has not been identified, was attempting to walk across State Road 44, near County Road 229, shortly before 6 a.m. when he was struck by a Land Rover Range Rover being driven westbound by a 42-year-old Leesburg man. He was then struck a second time by a cement truck being driven by a 29-year-old man, also of Leesburg, FHP said. The pedestrian was pronounced deceased on the scene.

Pedestrian killed in Sumter crash Friday morning 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 »

Leesburg police chief promoted to deputy city manager

LEESBURG—After more than three decades in law enforcement, Leesburg Police Chief Robert Hicks is putting away the badge and will begin serving as Leesburg’s deputy city manager next week.

Hicks has been with the City of Leesburg for 28 years and served as police chief for the last ten years. He is an Army combat veteran, has a bachelor’s degree in organizational management from Warner University and Master of Business Administration from Columbia Southern University.

Leesburg Police Department Major Steve Rockefeller will serve as interim police chief while the city searches nationwide for a new chief. Multiple internal candidates are also being considered, the city said in a social media post.

Leesburg police chief promoted to deputy city manager Read More »

Scroll to Top

No Paywalls

Local journalism is more important than ever before and we are dedicated to the health and vibrancy of our community. Your support helps us maintain our independence and our ability to report the news without bias or influence.

You can show your support by advertising, email us at [email protected] or by donating at PayPal