Winter Haven police officer shoots, kills gunman, deputies say

Larry Jenkins, 52, of Winter Haven, shot to death by police

Larry Jenkins/Contributed photo
Larry Jenkins/Contributed photo (Polk County Sheriff's Office)

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – A Winter Haven police officer shot and killed a man Saturday night while responding to a domestic disturbance call, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said Larry Jenkins, 52, of Winter Haven, was shot and killed by a Winter Haven police officer after Jenkins refused to let go of a gun that was in his pocket.

Deputies said Winter Haven police were called to an apartment complex on Orchid Springs Drive and knocked on the front door of the home but no one answered.

Sgt. Joshua Dentel went to the rear of the residence and found Jenkins standing inside a screened-in porch with his right hand in his pocket, according to deputies. Deputies said Dentel gave Jenkins verbal commands to show him his hands, which Jenkins ignored.

Police told deputies that Jenkins said he had a gun in his pocket.

Two more Winter Haven officers came to the back of the residence to assist Jenkins, according to authorities.

Once the other officers arrived, Jenkins left the screened-in porch and told the police officers that he was “going to die tonight” and that the officers were “going to have to shoot me,” according to PCSO.

Dentel told the officers to use a less-lethal weapon, which resorted in Officer Doyle to using his Taser on Jenkins twice, according to PCSO.

Authorities said that Doyle saw Jenkins start to remove his hand from his pocket and Doyle saw the butt of a black gun.

Dentel also saw the gun as Jenkins removed it from his pocket, and Dentel shot Jenkins, striking him several times, according to PCSO.

Jenkins later died at Winter Haven hospital, according to PCSO.

PCSO interviewed witnesses who reported the domestic disturbance call, and they said that Jenkins had been drinking all day and he was allegedly sexually harassing a 14-year-old.

Two relatives of the 14-year-old came to the apartment to get her, and that’s when Jenkins pulled out a semi-automatic pistol and threatened them and fired the handgun, according to the relative who called 911, deputies said.

The shooting is being investigated by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Winter Haven Police Department, who are doing their own internal investigation.

The State Attorney’s Office is also conducting an independent investigation of the incident.

The officer involved is on administrative leave with pay during the initial phase of the investigation, per Winter Haven Police Department protocol.