LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — Police in Lakeland were engaged in a standoff late Friday night with a suspect they had already encountered earlier in the week.
Officers were called to an area near a mobile home park on New Tampa Highway and Chesnut Road around 10:30 p.m. and found 54-year-old Morris Parker, who had been shot once. He was taken to Lakeland Regional Health in critical condition, but is expected to recover.
A witness who was working at a nearby gas station told police she heard a gunshot and saw the suspect, 64-year-old Robert Van den Bosch, near a dumpster at the entrance of the mobile home park. She told police she then saw Van den Bosch go back into the park. Officers saw him in his trailer and evacuated neighbors.
The SWAT team and negotiation officers also responded to the scene, and blocked off a portion of New Tampa Highway from Wabash Avenue to Chesnut Road for about six hours.
Tactical officers who were trying to make contact with the suspect around midnight say they heard what sounded like a muffled gunshot come from Van den Bosch’s trailer. The State Fire Marshal’s Office was then called to the scene to use their Bomb Squad robot. The robot’s camera system located where the suspect was inside his home, and observed a handgun on the floor.
When Van den Bosch didn’t respond to verbal commands to exit his home, officers released chemical agents into the trailer.
Van den Bosch then came out of the trailer and was taken to the Polk County Jail. He is charged with attempted murder and resisting arrest without violence.
Earlier in the week, Lakeland police responded to the same area for a possible aggravated assault. During that incident, police say Van den Bosch was accused of pointing a firearm at a victim and making threatening comments. Officers had asked him to leave his home, but he refused.
After speaking with the victim on Tuesday, no charges were filed and officers said Van den Bosch did not meet the requirements for a Baker Act.
Police say Van den Bosch has no criminal history, and they do not know what prompted the two incidents this week.
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