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'Just so sudden': Neighbors asking for more deputy patrols following Lehigh Acres shooting

Lehigh shooting
Posted at 4:23 PM, Mar 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-21 12:54:16-04

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. — The shooting of an elderly couple, which Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers is calling unprovoked, has sparked a community conversation.

Neighbors are asking for more deputies to patrol the area following the crime.

On Sunday morning around 4:00, Crime Stoppers says the elderly victims were shot while trying to get through an intersection. It happened at Homestead Road South and Milwaukee Boulevard in Lehigh Acres.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office said a car meet-up was taking place right when the shooting took place.

As of Monday afternoon, the shooter is still on the run. Law enforcement officials say the victims were heading to Key West and carrying a boat.

When they got to the intersection, the group surrounded the truck and boat, not letting the driver through.

That's when Crime Stoppers says the shooter shot through the driver's side window, hitting the elderly victims, and sending them to the hospital in critical condition. According to Cody Langford, grandson of the couple, his grandmother is back home and recovering. His grandfather is in ICU and recovering, too.

"It had to have been terrifying for them," said Lori Smith. "It could've happened to anyone."

She and her boyfriend Brian Raden have lived in Lehigh Acres since September 2022 and are about four miles away from where the shooting happened.

"It was just so sudden, it was out of nowhere," Raden said. "Those poor people."

A neighbor, who lives right along Homestead Road South, says he heard the cars driving by about an hour before the shooting.

"I was woken up by the sound of loud cars," the homeowner said. "There were no fewer than 200 cars."

The neighbor says this isn't the first time he has heard them come down the road, though it is the first time physically seeing them.

"I’ve called in [police] 3-4 previous times to let them know the cars are out there," he said. "They always told me they’ll send somebody out to look into it."

He and Smith say this makes them feel unsafe. It's a feeling Smith wants to shake.

"We're taking back our city," Smith said. "If I have to step in and be an advocate, I will."

She e-mailed the Sheriff's Office, asking for more boots on the ground.

"We just need more police coverage, bottom line," Smith explained.

There is a Lee County Sheriff substation in Lehigh Acres, but Smith says she could also see Lehigh having its own department due to the size.

Fox 4 reached out for an interview with Lee County commissioner Mike Greenwell for comment as his district is Lehigh Acres, but our request was not fulfilled.

"People need to be accountable for the things that they do," she said. "It’s scary. I just feel like we need more police."

If you know anything about the shooting, you're asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS.