Two arrested in connection to murder of Lakeland teen - WRBL

Two arrested in connection to murder of Lakeland teen

Posted: Updated:
Tyler Knight Tyler Knight
Taqiy Malik Lewis Taqiy Malik Lewis
LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) - The Lakeland Police Department has arrested two teens in connection to the murder of 17-year-old Damarco Powell. Police announced the arrests Monday morning and confirmed the shooting was gang-related.

Tyler Knight, 16, a student at Kathleen High School, was arrested late Monday night and charged with First-Degree Murder with Firearm.Taqiy Lewis, a student at Bill Duncan Opportunity Center, has been charged with False Reports to Law Enforcement Concerning a Capital Felony.

According to police affidavits, the motive for the crime was over content of a cell phone message that indicated Powell was going to "set them up." The affidavit says: "The statement was in gang code, but essentially said the decedent had to be plucked."

Witnesses stated that as they walked through the wooded area, Knight pulled a handgun and shot Powell in the back of the head.  Investigators believe he was shot around 9:30 p.m. Friday.

He was reported missing by his mother, Tiffany Powell Humphries, around 3:15 a.m. Saturday and his body was discovered in a ditch off the 1300-block of Atline Road in Lakeland about two hours later.

Police say according to witnesses both Powell and Knight were part of a gang known as Armed And Dangerous (AAD).

During the investigation, police say Lewis provided false information to detectives which results in him being charged with false report to a law enforcement concerning a capital felony.

In a press conference Tuesday, Lakeland Police Chief Larry Giddens stressed the importance of parents knowing what their children are up to and reporting anything suspicious. He says school resource officers will talk directly to parents, staff and students about gang violence. He said knowing what your children are posting online and through cell-phone messages can be helpful in staying aware of their activity.

"The most important fight with gangs are the families, because families know what's going on and parents need to get involved in their children's lives," Giddens said.

In this case, authorities say the families of both the victim and suspects were cooperative with police and that's partly how arrests came so quickly.

Authorities do not believe the community has reason to be concerned for safety based off Saturday's incident.

"I don't think in this particular case they should be, but we're always concerned about the safety of our public," Capt. Greg Policastro, with the Lakeland Police Department, said.

Keith Klepper has owned a restaurant in the area where the incident happened for more than 30 years. He said it doesn't give him any reason to be more concerned about the area. He said he feels safe, but is always aware of his surroundings.

"I don’t think gangs hang out in a particular place. I think they're everywhere," Klepper said. "They look for their opportunities and it doesn't matter whether they're on this side of town or any side of town."

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.


  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Hyundai recalls 888,700 Sonata Sedans

    Hyundai recalls 888,700 Sonata Sedans

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:14 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:14:48 GMT
    Over 800,000 Hyundai Sonata Sedans have been recalled. Over 800,000 Hyundai Sonata Sedans have been recalled.
    Hyundai is recalling its popular Sonata midsize sedan to fix problems with the gear shift levers.The recall covers 883,000 cars from the 2011 through 2014 model years.Stay connected with the news of the day.
    Hyundai is recalling its popular Sonata midsize sedan to fix problems with the gear shift levers.The recall covers 883,000 cars from the 2011 through 2014 model years.Stay connected with the news of the day.
  • Removal of tons of stinky rice near Port of Tampa begins

    Removal of tons of stinky rice near Port of Tampa begins

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 5:06 PM EDT2014-07-30 21:06:23 GMT
    The nasty stench near the Port of Tampa may get better soon. Dump trucks worked to remove some of the 1,000 tons of rotting rice on the private land Wednesday. 8 On Your Side discovered the shipment of bad rice, rotting under tarps on property owned by Tampa Marine Terminals on Tuesday.
    The nasty stench near the Port of Tampa may get better soon. Dump trucks worked to remove some of the 1,000 tons of rotting rice on the private land Wednesday. 8 On Your Side discovered the shipment of bad rice, rotting under tarps on property owned by Tampa Marine Terminals on Tuesday.
  • SAFETY ALERT: Saltwater bacteria kills 1 in Sarasota

    SAFETY ALERT: Saltwater bacteria kills 1 in Sarasota

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 3:50 PM EDT2014-07-30 19:50:00 GMT
    WFLA file photo.WFLA file photo.
    A death in Sarasota County has health officials reminding people about a bacteria in Florida's coastal waters that has the potential to cause serious illness, even death. Other counties in Tampa Bay have reported cases of Vibrio vulnificus.
    A death in Sarasota County has health officials reminding people about a bacteria in Florida's coastal waters that has the potential to cause serious illness, even death. Other counties in Tampa Bay have reported cases of Vibrio vulnificus.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Family, friends hold vigil for slain Sarasota teen

    Family, friends hold vigil for slain Sarasota teen

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:49 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:49:45 GMT
    Family and friends of 17-year-old Teria'le Rawls gathered for a memorial service Wednesday night in Sarasota. Family and friends of 17-year-old Teria'le Rawls gathered for a memorial service Wednesday night in Sarasota.
    There wasn’t a dry eye in sight as friends and family of 17 year-old Teria’le Rawls gathered for a memorial outside her Sarasota home on Wednesday night.Rawls was shot and killed early Monday morning when she was hit by a stray bullet while in the parking lot of the Royal Palm Movie Theater in Manatee County.
    There wasn’t a dry eye in sight as friends and family of 17 year-old Teria’le Rawls gathered for a memorial outside her Sarasota home on Wednesday night.Rawls was shot and killed early Monday morning when she was hit by a stray bullet while in the parking lot of the Royal Palm Movie Theater in Manatee County.
  • Seminole man injured in crash on Blind Pass Rd.

    Seminole man injured in crash on Blind Pass Rd.

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:00:01 GMT
    The crash occurred just after 1:30 pm Wednesday.The crash occurred just after 1:30 pm Wednesday.
    A 27-year-old Seminole man was seriously injured Wednesday afternoon when the bicycle he was riding was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Blind Pass Rd. and 77th Ave. in St. Pete Beach.Adam Keehnle was transported to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg with life-threatening injuries.
    A 27-year-old Seminole man was seriously injured Wednesday afternoon when the bicycle he was riding was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Blind Pass Rd. and 77th Ave. in St. Pete Beach.Adam Keehnle was transported to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg with life-threatening injuries.
  • Pool parasite invades Pinellas County

    Pool parasite invades Pinellas County

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 9:19 PM EDT2014-07-31 01:19:12 GMT
    Health officials say the parasite that causes 'Crypto' could be in your pool. Health officials say the parasite that causes 'Crypto' could be in your pool.
    Health Department officials in Pinellas County are putting out a warning about a parasite that can lurk in swimming pools and water parks.

    Health Department officials in Pinellas County are putting out a warning about a parasite that can lurk in swimming pools and water parks. And, if it invades your body, you're in for a rough ride - it's called Cryptosporidium.


  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.