Leesburg

Man Accused of Killing Daughter’s Boyfriend Wednesday Held on No Bond

LEESBURG, Florida—The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has released the name of the man killed in Leesburg Wednesday afternoon.

Austin Graham, 26, was shot in the head by James Carlton, 57, of Fruitland Park. Graham was Carlton’s daughter’s boyfriend, LCSO Lt. Fred Jones told Inside Lake.

Shortly before 3 p.m. Wednesday, Graham and a witness were driving down Whitney Road near State Road 44, when the victim recognized Carlton’s vehicle. The two vehicles stopped, and Graham got out to greet Carlton and had a short conversation with him, the witness told LCSO.

After the brief conversation, Carlton shot Graham and fled the scene; Graham was transported to UF Health Leesburg, where he was pronounced dead, Jones said. Carlton was found at a bar in Marion County and multiple law enforcement agencies responded and took him into custody without incident, Jones said.

Carlton was arrested for first degree murder and transported to the Marion County Jail, where he is being held no bond.

Jones said detectives are still investigating the case and have not released a motive.

Man Shot in the Head in the Middle of the Road by a Man he Stopped to Greet; Suspect Flees and is Arrested at Marion County Bar

LEESBURG, Florida—A man was shot in the head and left on the side of the road in unincorporated Leesburg Wednesday, and the suspect fled to a Marion County bar, according to Lake County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Fred Jones.

At 2:50 p.m., the 26-year-old victim and a witness were driving down Whitney Road near State Road 44, when the victim recognized James Carlton’s vehicle. The two vehicles stopped, and the victim got out to greet Carlton and had a short conversation with him, the witness told LCSO. Inside Lake

After the brief conversation, Carlton 57, shot the victim and fled the scene. The victim was transported to UF Health Leesburg, where he was pronounced dead, Jones said in a press release.  Carlton was found at a bar in Marion County and multiple law enforcement agencies responded and took him into custody without incident.

Carlton, of Fruitland Park, was arrested for murder and transported to the Marion County Jail. His booking information and mugshot were not available at press time.

LCSO has not released a motive for the shooting or the relationship between the victim and Carlton.

Police Identify Burglar Shot by Leesburg Homeowner

LEESBURG, Florida—The burglar shot by a Leesburg homeowner Monday has been identified.

Jeffrey Scott Garrard, 55, of Leesburg, was shot Monday morning when he and another man—still on the loose—attempted to enter a home on Flora View Lane, Leesburg Police Capt. Joe Iozzi said in a press release.

Garrard was transported to a local trauma center when he remains in ICU and has not been able to speak to detectives, Iozzi said. His partner in crime fled the scene; he is described as a white male, 5’8” to 5’9”, with a slim build. He was wearing a black hoodie and tan shorts during the break-in.

Garrard’s vehicle was found at the scene and LPD detectives are working to obtain a search for the vehicle and items inside, according to Iozzi.

PHOTO: Leesburg Police Department

“Fortunately, the homeowner was uninjured during the incident and the case remains under investigation by our detectives,” Iozzi said.  

Anyone with information, or video surveillance capturing the incident or suspects, is asked to call LPD detectives at 352-787-9862.

Man who Reportedly Jumped from Tavares Bridge Identified

TAVARES, Florida—The man who was found dead Wednesday after apparently jumping from Dead River Bridge has been identified by Tavares Police Department.

Michael Wayne Newman, 50, of the Bassville Park area of Leesburg was found after a witness reported seeing him jump from the bridge around 5 p.m. Wednesday, TPD Lt. Sarah Coursey told Inside Lake.  

First responders used sonar technology to quickly find Newman after receiving the report. There is no known cause of death at this time, “We are awaiting results from the medical examiner’s office,” Coursey said.

The case remains under investigation.

Leesburg Homeowner Shoots Would-Be Burglar, 2nd Suspect on the Loose

LEESBURG, FLORIDA—Two would-be burglars got more than they bargained for Monday morning when one of them was shot by the homeowner they were trying to steal from, according to Leesburg Police Department.

Two men entered a residence on Flora View Lane and the homeowner opened fire, shooting one of them, an LPD Facebook post stated Monday. The suspect was taken to a local trauma center for his injuries and the second suspect fled.  The homeowner was not injured.

LPD established a perimeter for the second suspect, who is described as a white male, 5’8” to 5’9” with a slim build, wearing a black hoodie and tan shorts, but were unable to locate him.

LPD is asking witnesses and anyone with video regarding this incident, to call LPD detectives at 352-787-9862. 

Eustis Police Saturate Areas Targeted in Vehicle Burglaries, Arrest 3 Suspects, on the Hunt for More

EUSTIS, Florida—In response to an uptick in vehicle burglaries over the last several weeks, Eustis Police Department saturated the targeted areas of the city with officers over the last week and busted three burglars and they are on the hunt for a fourth, EPD Capt. Jon Fahning told Inside Lake Friday afternoon.

Numerous neighborhoods in both EPD jurisdiction and Lake County Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction in Grand Island have been hit with thieves, in addition to several neighborhoods in the city, including, but not limited to, Blue Lake Estates, Misty Oaks, Summer Glen, Brookshire, Horizon Oaks and Hillcrest over the past few weeks, Fahning said. “It’s not uncommon for the summertime,” he said.

Officers with the road patrol division and detectives with the criminal investigations division worked together to saturate areas and identify the suspects who have been captured on numerous home surveillance systems, checking for unlocked vehicle doors. Many items were taken, from dozens of vehicles, including cash and at least four guns, Fahning said. One stolen gun has been recovered.

There are several groups of thieves working the same areas and EPD does not believe the groups are connected, according to Fahning. Of the smaller groups, they believe they have arrested some of the people in two of the groups, and they are investigating a third. “There is at least one more group we are working on taking care of,” he said. `

Three of the suspected thieves were apprehended this week. On Thursday, officers responded to Brookshire on a report of suspects pulling door handles. The suspects fled upon the officers’ arrival but were apprehended after a short foot chase and identified as Casey C. Johnson, 19, of Leesburg and Matthew Nathaniel Hanners, 18, of Eustis. Detectives are working on a warrant for a third male and are not releasing his identity until he is in custody.

Johnson was arrested for a litany of charges, including, armed burglary to a conveyance, possession of a concealed firearm, possession of a firearm during commission of a felony, possession of burglary tools, false name to law enforcement, and resisting arrest. He is being held at the Lake County Jail on $33,000 bond. Hanners was arrested for principal to armed burglary, burglary and resisting arrest; he is being held at LCJ on $21,000 bond. Additional charges for both suspects are possible, Fahning said.

J’quarius Sceal, 22, was arrested Friday on several charges in connection with recent vehicle burglaries in Eustis.

On Friday, another suspect was captured when officers responded to a report of a man acting erratically with a gun on Gould Street. J’quarius Sceal, 22, of Eustis, was found with a gun stolen from a vehicle in the Hillcrest neighborhood. Sceal is suspected of more burglaries in the city, Fahning said, and more charges are pending. Sceal was arrested for grand theft of a firearm, armed burglary, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a concealed weapon and improper exhibition of a firearm. He is being held at LCJ on $41,000 bond.

EPD wants to catch all the thieves but needs the public to be more vigilant and helpful. Many victims are not reporting the crimes at all and Fahning believes there are more surveillance videos that have not been sent to the police. “Calling us immediately is very beneficial,” he said. “Some (victims) just don’t call at all and that’s a problem. We need help.” If you have information or videos related to these burglaries, call EPD at 352-357-4121.

Man Allows 6-year-old Son to “Drive,” Crashes into Light Pole

LEESBURG, Florida—A man who put his 6-year-old son on his lap and allowed him to steer his vehicle right into a light pole was arrested Friday for child abuse and no driver license, according to an arrest affidavit.

Josue Suarez-Zeledon, 38, told Leesburg Police his 6-year-old asked him if he could drive around 3:30 p.m. Friday. Suarez-Zeledon pulled over near the intersection of South Street and South Lone Oak Drive and put his son on his lap, the affidavit states. Suarez-Zeledon was controlling the gas and brake pedals while the boy was steering, he told police.

The vehicle began traveling northbound on South Lone Oak Drive with both Suarez-Zeledon and the child controlling the steering wheel. As they approached the intersection of Jobbins Drive, the boy suddenly snatched the wheel completely to the right and they struck a pole before Suarez-Zeledon was able to regain control, he told LPD.

No one was injured, including a Suarez-Zeledon’s daughter, who was also in the vehicle; her age was not listed in the affidavit. Suarez-Zeledon told the arresting officer he does not have a driver license because he is from Nicaragua.

The children were turned over to their mother, and Suarez-Zeledon was transported to the Lake County Jail, where he is being held on no bond.

Barking Dog Alerts Showering Couple to Intruder in their Home

LEESBURG, Florida—A Leesburg couple’s shower was interrupted last week when their dog alerted them to a woman in their home who was armed with a kitchen knife, according to an arrest affidavit.

Leesburg Police responded to an apartment on Birchwood Court around 6:40 a.m. June 1 on a report of a burglary. When they arrived, they found Jayla L. Tart, 19, who lives in the same apartment complex as the victims, sitting on the couch yelling obscenities at police, clutching the knife with both hands, according to the affidavit.

Police tried to calm the situation and Tart finally threw the knife down after several minutes, and LPD attempted to take her into custody. She repeatedly kicked and struck at police while refusing to be handcuffed and tried to hit officers with a shoe rack. She was taken into custody after more officers arrived and had to be carried to a patrol car, according to the affidavit.

PHOTO: Lake County Sheriff’s Office

She was transported directly to the Lake County Jail, where she refused to get out of the patrol car and had to be pulled out and placed into a restraint chair, the affidavit states.

The victims told police they were showering together when they heard their dog barking, so the male victim went to investigate. He walked around the apartment and did not find anyone, and as he walked back inside, he saw their bedroom door move and found Tart behind the door holding a knife she took from the kitchen, the affidavit states.

The victims, concerned for their safety, offered to make Tart food and Tart began to threaten them, stating she was going to, “kill you, slice your throat,” the couple told police.

The couple, who told police they had never seen Tart before that morning, escaped to another room and called 9-1-1. Tart was arrested for assault with intent to commit a felony. Resisting an officer with violence and burglary. She has also been charged with violating probation from a previous case and is being held at LCJ on no bond.

Woman Accused of Slashing Temporary Roommate with Knife

LEESBURG, Florida—A woman temporarily staying with a man in Leesburg slashed him with a pocketknife last week when he came back to the apartment they were sharing to make sure she moved out, according to an arrest affidavit.

Meghan Simpson Borsher, 49, was arrested for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon after her roommate told Leesburg Police Department, she slashed him in the arm with the knife when he demanded she leave the apartment.

The man told LPD he moved his belongings out of the apartment on Washington Street May 31 and came back the following day to make sure it was empty, according to an arrest affidavit. Around 6 p.m. June 1, he entered the apartment and found Borsher inside. He demanded she leave and approached her, and she sliced him with the knife, he told LPD.

Borsher, who was located on the grounds of the apartment complex, told police she had been staying with the man for about six weeks and he had already moved out, but she had an agreement with the manager of the apartment complex that allowed her to stay until June 3, but the victim did not know about the agreement.

Borsher said she was in the bathroom when the victim entered and he yelled at her and charged toward her, so she threw a laundry basket that contained a mason jar at him. She said the mason jar broke and cut his arm, according to the affidavit. Police looked around the apartment and found the pocketknife the victim described and some pieces of glass in front of the door. The pieces of glass did not have blood on them, the arresting officer noted.

The victim was transported to HCA Florida Ocala Hospital, formerly Ocala Regional Medical Center for treatment of the 4-inch laceration, and Borsher was arrested and transported to the Lake County Jail, where she is being held on $10,000 bond.

Leesburg Man Killed in Saturday Evening Crash

LEESBURG, Florida—A Leesburg man was killed in a single vehicle crash Saturday night, according to Leesburg Police Capt. Joe Iozzi.

A witness told LPD, a 2011 Hyundai SUV being driven by Douglas Crews, was southbound on U.S. Highway 27 near Corley Island Road, when it hit a curb, overcorrected and rolled over several times, Iozzi said in a press release.

Crews was ejected and pronounced dead on the scene.

The crash closed a section of the southbound lanes of U.S. Highway 27 for about six hours Saturday night and remains under investigation.

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