Bodycam video offers new details into fatal Groveland day care shooting

Fight between family members ended in shooting, police said

Newly-released body camera video from police in Groveland shows the moments right after a deadly shooting outside a daycare. The video shows the shooter cooperating with police as they place him in handcuffs at the scene.

GROVELAND, Fla. – Newly-released body camera video from police in Groveland shows the moments right after a deadly shooting outside a daycare. The video shows the shooter cooperating with police as they place him in handcuffs at the scene.

Officers said they were called to We Are The Future Academy, 207 Groveland Farms Road, May 12 at 4:20 p.m. after the gunfire. According to a press release from Groveland Police, the man was shot after a physical fight at the day care.

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News 6 obtained audio of the 911 call Friday. It reveals the shooter called 911 and claimed he acted in self-defense. The man on the phone tells first responders he was attacked and choked before he defended himself. He can be heard telling dispatch, “I had to defend myself. I was attacked. I feared for my life.”

Groveland Police say their investigation is ongoing but based on their initial findings it appears no charges will be filed.

“The preliminary investigation by the Groveland Police Department and the State Attorney’s Office support the initial findings, which is this is a justified shooting and an act of self-defense,” said Sarah Panko, public information manager for Groveland Public Safety.

Spokesperson Sarah Panko calls it an isolated and unfortunate incident.

“Our hearts go out to all the families. A child is left without a parent. A family is left broken,” said Panko.

The owner of the day care, Lisbel Rodriguez, said two brothers-in-law picked up their children and got into a fight outside the office. One of them had already picked up his child and was leaving the center when he passed by the other family member outside the day care. Rodriguez said a fistfight ensued followed by a gunshot.

At the time of the shooting, parents described the panic at pick up.

“When I heard my child’s cousin’s mom telling me it was a shooting, my whole heart like stopped. My stomach sank,” said Baylee McDaniel.

The day care center was placed on lockdown to keep anyone else from getting hurt.

Groveland Police identified the man who died as Stephan Jefferson. He was flown by Air Care to Orlando Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased by medical staff as a result of a single gunshot wound.


About the Author:

Catherine, born and raised in Central Florida, joined News 6 in April 2022.