Tavares

Law enforcement investigating internet gaming facilities in unincorporated Umatilla and Tavares

LAKE COUNTY, Fla.—There is a large law enforcement presence at two internet gaming facilities, one in unincorporated Umatilla and one in unincorporated Tavares, Thursday morning and Inside Lake is working to find out why.

Inside Lake received multiple tips and was on the scene at Hotspot, 37415 State Road 19, Umatilla, briefly and witnessed several marked units from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office at the business around 9:30 a.m. A tipster also said there was a law enforcement presence at another Hotspot, located at 11203 U.S. Highway 441, Tavares, near County Road 473.

“We’re working an investigation regarding those gaming establishments, the details of which will be released at a later date,” LCSO Lt. John Herrell told Inside Lake.

Law enforcement investigating internet gaming facilities in unincorporated Umatilla and Tavares Read More »

Shots fired in Tavares condo complex Wednesday, knocks power out to multiple residences

TAVARES, Fla.—Tavares Police Department is investigating after multiple shots were fired in a condominium complex late Wednesday night.

Shortly before 10 p.m., TPD received multiple 911 calls in reference to numerous shots being fired in the Rosewood Condominiums, located off Dead River Road, Det. Courtney Sullivan said.

No one was injured, according to Sullivan, and two vehicles fled the complex; one may have been a gray Chevrolet Impala or a Dodge Dart.

Police believe there were multiple people involved in the incident and at least two shooters, due to evidence found at the scene. An electrical box was shot, leaving approximately 90 residents without power for nearly eight hours, Sullivan said.

“Investigators are working diligently to determine those involved and are urging witnesses to come forward to assist with the investigation,” Sullivan said. If you have information, call TPD at 352-343-2101, option 4.

Rosewood has been the site of multiple shootings over the past several years, including a murder in 2018. No arrests have been made in that case. In November 2023, police investigated two separate shootings just four days apart.

Previous story: Tavares Police Investigating After Receiving Multiple Calls of Shots Fired at Rosewood Condos Friday Night – Inside Lake

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Lake County jury convicts man of shooting woman in Mount Dora last year

TAVARES, Fla.—A man accused of shooting a woman twice in Mount Dora last year was convicted by a Lake County jury Wednesday, according to the Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office.

In March 2023, Mount Dora Police Department responded to the 1500 block of Pine Avenue on a report of a shooting and when they arrived, they found a woman in a 2010 Nissan passenger vehicle suffering from two gunshot wounds. The victim told police “Jason,” later identified as Jason Jameel Ganga shot her while she was attempting to leave, and he was inside. There were two bullet holes through her driver’s side window, an affidavit in the case states.

MDPD found Ganga, who showed signs of alcohol intoxication, underneath a bed. Officers grabbed his legs and pulled him out, and as they pulled him out, they saw he was holding a .40 caliber semi-automatic Smith & Wesson handgun to his temple and actively pulling the trigger; the gun did not have a magazine. The gun was secured, and Ganga was taken into custody. He refused to cooperate with MDPD’s questioning and a search of the home revealed multiple firearms, including handguns and rifles, with ammunition scattered throughout the premises. He was arrested on multiple charges and has been held in the Lake County Jail since his arrest.

Ganga was found guilty of attempted second-degree murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle, and aggravated battery. He was represented by Spencer Rhodes of Orlando and prosecuted by Assistant State Attorneys Gabriel Lozano and Eddie Moffitt. He will be sentenced at a later date.

Previous story: Mount Dora Police Arrest Armed Man Accused of Shooting Woman Twice Sunday Night – Inside Lake

Lake County jury convicts man of shooting woman in Mount Dora last year Read More »

Tavares police thwart man’s plans to kill his father and beat him with a stick Wednesday

TAVARES, Fla.—A 27-year-old man is behind bars, accused of violating a New York injunction that prohibits him from possessing a firearm, after Tavares Police Department found him with a loaded 9mm he planned to use to “put all of the bullets into his father,” according to an arrest affidavit.

Tavares Police Department responded to a home on a request that Tyekwon A. Neal be evaluated because he was “acting crazy,” as he left the home on foot shortly before 1:30 pm. Wednesday. Neal’s father told officers Neal said he was going to make him pay for his mistakes and he did not care about anything, including himself, the affidavit states.

Officers began searching the area for Neal and found him at Disston Avenue and Esther Street, about a block away from the home. Neal appeared “agitated,” and was moving away from an officer when another officer pulled up and repeatedly asked Neal what was wrong and asked him to speak with her, the affidavit states.

He finally agreed to speak with officers in a “triangle formation” but continued to move away from them as they spoke; due to the statements Neal made, he was detained. As officers cuffed Neal, he told them he had his father’s loaded 9mm in the front pocket of his hoodie and gave them details on how he planned to kill his father, telling officers he was going to use the gun to “put all of the bullets in his father.” Officers found another loaded magazine in the front right pocket of his pants and a 4-foot-long stick in Neal’s left pant leg, he told police he also planned to use on his father. Neal, who said he was on medication for two mental health disorders but had only taken a partial dose Wednesday, was placed in the back of a patrol vehicle while the arresting officer ran a criminal history check.

She found Neal had been served an injunction in New York in 2020 that prohibited him from possessing a weapon, including a firearm. She confirmed he had to abide by the conditions of the injunction in Florida and he was arrested for violating an injunction. She also found multiple arrests in Buffalo, N.Y. It was unclear if Neal was convicted of any of his felony arrests, so he was not arrested for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was not charged with any offenses related to the threats made to his father because his father was unsure if he had the firearm when he made the threats, TPD told Inside Lake.

Neal was transported to the Lake County Jail, where he pointed his finger in the shape of a gun at jail staff and threatened to shoot them while the officer completed her paperwork. He is being held on no bond.

Tavares police thwart man’s plans to kill his father and beat him with a stick Wednesday Read More »

Lake County Golden Triangle Rotary awards scholarships for 2024-25 school year

MOUNT DORA—The Rotary Club of Lake County Golden Triangle awarded $26,000 in scholarships to 13 central Florida residents who are pursuing higher education degrees in the 2024-25 academic year.

The awards are based on criteria including scholastic ability, responsibility toward education and financial need with a special emphasis on community service

Morris W. Dunbar established a Nursing Scholarship in honor of his wife. The recipient is Reyna Green, a Mount Dora High School graduate, studying at the University of South Florida.

The Richard Earhart Endowment provides a scholarship to students from Mount Dora. The recipient is Kari Martinez, a Mount Dora High School graduate attending Advent Health University.

The Norma Jean Schloot Endowment funds a scholarship for students in education and agriculture. It is awarded to Hunter Taylor, a Eustis High School graduate studying at the University of Florida (UF.)

The Bill Bland Rotary Scholarship Fund helps students in finance and business, law enforcement, agriculture and technical training. College students receiving scholarships are Alysia Fritzke, University of Central Florida (UCF) and Shelby Mulholland, UF.

Eight graduating seniors also received Bland scholarships: Eustis High School graduates Reagan Baker, Auburn University; Aeyden Bedard, Florida State University and Sierra Funderburk, UCF. Mount Dora High School graduates Alex Mancilla, Lake Technical College (LTC); Trinity Mathie, UCF and Marissa Williams at LTC; Mount Dora Christian Academy graduate Bryan Schutte, Florida Institute of Technology and Hampton Dubose Academy graduate Shepard Smith, Brigham Young University.

The club funded scholarship was awarded to Paris Chambliss, a computer animation major at Ringling College of Art and Design.

“Rotary enjoys supporting our local students. Not only are they future leaders, but they are also making significant contributions in their schools and in our local community,” said Janet Porfilio Westlake, chair of the organization’s Youth Services Committee. “Observing their passion gives us hope.”

Lake County Golden Triangle Rotary awards scholarships for 2024-25 school year Read More »

Suspect in Mount Dora slayings mentally incompetent, judge rules

TAVARES, Fla.—The woman suspected of brutally murdering an elderly Mount Dora couple “is incompetent to proceed” to her murder trial due to her mental illness, Lake Circuit Judge Cary Rada ruled earlier this week.

Vickie Lynn Williams, 51,  is accused of stabbing Darryl Getman, 83, and Sharon Getman, 80. The married couple was murdered in their Waterman Village home sometime between the hours of 11 p.m. Dec. 30, 2022, and 2 a.m. Dec. 31, 2022.

After murdering the couple, Williams stole their green Kia Soul and was still driving it when she was apprehended by a Savannah Police Department officer at a Georgia Amtrak station on Jan. 2, 2023. She was indicted later that month and prosecutors were seeking the death penalty in the case that shocked the community.

Darryl and Sharon Getman were found murdered in their home Dec. 31, 2022.

A competency hearing for Williams was held earlier last week and employees at the Lake County Jail testified, in addition to two experts for the defense and one for the state. Dr. Jason Demery Ph.D., expert for the state, “expressed concerns the Defendant was malingering (faking mental illness,) and further stated he would not opine an individual is incompetent if they are malingering,” Rada’s order states, but also said he had no opinion because Williams “failed to produce reliable data,” by not participating in the interview.

“Dr. (Jeffrery) Danzinger opined the Defendant has no rational understanding of the outcomes and penalties of her case, and that she has partial factual understanding of the roles of officers of the court. Dr. Danzinger further opined that Defendant would not be able to relevantly testify because of delusional beliefs and her inability to accurately recall information. Dr. Danzinger also opined that Defendant’s ability to consult with counsel is substantially impaired.” He stated Williams is “not competent to proceed due to what is likely schizophrenia in exacerbation,” and she “should be involuntarily committed because she has been aggressive and violent in jail,” but also said it is “reasonably probable competency could be restored in 6 months,” the order states.

Vickie Lynn Williams is seen here in an earlier court appearance.

According to reports by Dr. Bushan Agharkar, also an expert for the defense, found Williams to be “mentally ill and urgent need of psychiatric hospitalization and treatment.” He testified he met with her at her cell door because she refused to meet in an attorney booth at the jail, and said Williams was wearing a suicide smock, had poor hygiene and there was liquid on the cell floor he believed to be urine. Williams did not appear to be bothered by the odor and denied it was urine, he said.

During the proceedings Williams mumbled to herself, stated her name was “Candace” and urinated on herself, her chair and the floor while handcuffed and shackled to the defense table. She was removed from the courtroom to clean herself up and she refused to change her clothes. Her attorney, Assistant Public Defender Morris Carranza waived her appearance for the rest of the hearing.

Lake Circuit Judge Cary Rada

On Monday, less than a week after the hearing, Rada rendered his decision. He stated in his order that he took all the testimony into consideration but “competent substantial evidence outweighs any concerns of malingering,” and ordered Williams be committed to the Department of Children and Families to be placed in a mental health treatment facility. He further ordered DCF to report directly to the Court on issues of competency and the need for continued commitment. Williams will remain in the treatment facility until a further order from the Court.

Previous story: State to Seek Death Penalty in Brutal Murders of Elderly Mount Dora Couple – Inside Lake

Suspect in Mount Dora slayings mentally incompetent, judge rules Read More »

Man returns to Tavares business day after he was trespassed, punches cop in the mouth

TAVARES, Fla.—A 69-year-old man is being held in the Lake County Jail on $6,000 bond, accused of returning to a business he was trespassed from the day before and punching a Tavares Police Department officer in the mouth when he tried to take him into custody.

Shortly before 3 p.m. Friday, TPD responded to Japan Express, 456 East Burleigh Boulevard, in reference to Michael Stanley Bomber returning to the restaurant after he had been trespassed, according to a report.

The officer approached Bomber, confirmed his name and asked if he was aware of the trespass he was issued Thursday night. Bomber said he was aware of it and the officer told him he was under arrest. Bomber, whose last known address is in St. Petersburg, became combative and aggressive and reportedly told the officer, “If you touch me, I’ll punch you in the face.”

Bomber ignored verbal commands and when the officer stepped forward to take him into custody, Bomber allegedly punched him in the “upper left lip,” the report states.

Bomber was taken to the ground and eventually complied; he complained of chest pains and was taken to a local healthcare facility, where he was medically cleared. Bomber is facing charges of resisting arrest with violence and trespassing after warning; this was Bomber’s second trespassing arrest in two days by TPD. The details of Wednesday’s arrest were not available at press time.

Man returns to Tavares business day after he was trespassed, punches cop in the mouth Read More »

Wrong-way driver busted with nitrous oxide by Tavares police

TAVARES, Fla.—A wrong-way driver who caught the attention of a Tavares Police Department officer Sunday was arrested for possession of four canisters of nitrous oxide, commonly known as “whippets,” according to a report.

Just before noon Sunday, a TPD officer was parked at Lake County Schools on Burleigh Boulevard when she spotted a grey SUV traveling eastbound in a westbound lane, causing other drivers to swerve into the median and switch lanes, a report states.

The officer activated her lights and sirens and caught up to the SUV around Banning Beach Road, where it pulled over in the middle of Burleigh Boulevard/U.S. Highway 441. She directed the driver, later identified as Kyle Tillberg, to pull over in a nearby shopping plaza.

Tillberg, who was “extremely pale” and had “constricted pupils,” the officer noted, was questioned why he was driving the wrong way and he reportedly said, he believed everyone else was driving the wrong way, the report states.

The officer asked Tillberg if he was under the influence of anything and he denied it, according to the report. He told the officer he was trying to make it to the smoke shop located in the plaza where they were stopped, but that plaza does not have a smoke shop, officer stated in the report.

Tillberg gave officers consent to search the rental vehicle he was driving and upon searching, they found nine small zip-top bags that were ripped open and empty, along with a tenth bag in a compartment under the radio; that bag contained a white, screw-on nozzle tip. Three 680-gram tanks of nitrous oxide were found on the rear floorboard behind the driver’s seat, and one was found tucked under the passenger seat; two of the four tanks were still cold to the touch, according to the report.

The officer requested a drug recognition expert (DRE) to determine if Tillberg was under the influence, and one was not available in Lake or Orange county, the report states. Tillberg, 57, of Mount Dora, was arrested for possessing nitrous oxide and transported to the Lake County Jail, where he was released on $3,000 bond.

Wrong-way driver busted with nitrous oxide by Tavares police Read More »

5th Annual Lake County Back the Blue and Red Walk

Photos from the 5th Annual Back the Blue and Red Walk. Organizer Shannon Cook has been supporting law enforcement since 2019 with this walk. This year, firefighters were added to the event, and the name was changed. PHOTOS: Bonnie Whicher/Special to Inside Lake

5th Annual Lake County Back the Blue and Red Walk 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 »

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