Man killed after pointing gun at officer on I-4 in Lakeland, police say

Officer-involved shooting investigated near Kathleen Road exits

Police lights. (KPRC/File)

LAKELAND, Fla. – Lakeland police officers fatally shot a man who pointed a gun at them early Sunday as they were investigating reports of a suspicious car parked in a construction zone along I-4, authorities said.

Officers Tammy Hathcock and Garret Zeigler arrived at the scene just after 2 a.m. Sunday and saw a man sitting in the car, the Lakeland Police Department said in a news release.

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The officers tapped on the car window to speak to the man and he pulled a handgun and pointed it at one of the officers, the agency said.

“In fear for their safety, officers returned fire, shooting the driver,” a police report said.

The 61-year-old man, whose name has not been released, was the only occupant of the car. He died at the scene. Police recovered his gun.

The officers were not injured, the agency said.

Authorities closed I-4 for hours as they investigated the shooting. Westbound lanes were reopened later Sunday morning while eastbound lanes were restricted to one lane in the area.

The shooting is being investigated by the agency's violent crimes unit and will also be under review by the department's professional standards board, the state attorney's office and the medical examiner's office, officials said.

The officers have been placed on administrative leave with pay, pending the outcome of the investigations.