Hundreds attend memorial to Polk’s rookie deputy killed in the line of duty


LAKELAND, FL — Victory Church stood tall Tuesday as first responders from across Florida converged on North Lakeland to pay their respects to a 21-year-old Mulberry native who died while living his dream of being a sheriff’s deputy.

Outside Victory Church, the solemn memorial service for Polk County Sheriff’s Deputy Blane Lane included full law enforcement honors, including a helicopter flyover, the release of doves, a horse without a rider, a three-stroke volley, the last radio call, tap dancing and bagpipes and the presentation of the flag.

Although Lane was only able to do the job he dreamed of doing for 8 1/2 months, “he left a life of honor and respect for the county and the community he loved,” said the Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. “I never thought I would have to say goodbye to her.”

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Judd said he had his picture taken with Blane at church when he was around 4 years old.

“Even then he wanted to be a deputy and someday sheriff,” Judd said.

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Lane was also in a fifth grade class at Scott Lake Elementary that Judd addressed. Lane retained a photo from that day as well as a written statement that he would become the Polk County Sheriff’s Deputy.

Lane’s parents told Judd that he actually studied sheriff.

“His mom told me he knows more about me than I know about myself,” Judd said. “Blane was watching my press conferences and quoting my lines. He told everyone he was going to be a deputy and one day he would be a sheriff.”

While attending Polk State College’s law enforcement and detention academy, Lane practiced handcuffing all of his family members. When his sister protested, he told her, “Well, stop resisting,” Judd said.

“I just hope he does and I pray he doesn’t try to handcuff Jesus,” Judd joked.

See related story: MP for Polk, 21, killed by a stray bullet fired by another MP

The rookie patrol deputy died Oct. 4 at Lakeland Regional Health Center after being accidentally shot while serving a felony warrant with three other deputies.

At 2:07 a.m. a call came in to the Crime Stoppers information line reporting that Cheryl Lynn Williams, 45, who had an outstanding warrant against her for failing to appear in court for possession of methamphetamine , could be found in a mobile home. at 4345 Foxtown S in Polk City.

Williams has already served nine years of an 11-year prison sentence in the state of Florida for trafficking methamphetamine and was arrested for 11 felonies and four misdemeanors.

Polk County Sheriff‘s Sgt. Michael Brooks and deputies Johnny Holsonback III, Adam Pennell and Lane arrived at the mobile home at 3:08 a.m. to arrest Williams and were met at the front door by two men who said Williams could be found at the back .

Deputies proceeded to the back door of the mobile home where they encountered a third man who said, “She’s here”, beckoning deputies to enter.

Following protocol, Brooks, Holsonback and Pennell went inside while Lane took up a tactical position outside the trailer where he could see the front door in case Williams decided to run but couldn’t. be seen by those inside the mobile home.

Judd said the other three deputies entered a playroom in the mobile home where they saw a meth pipe, an open can of light beer and an open Bible to 2 Kings Chapter 21, in which God decides to take Elijah to heaven in a whirlwind.

The deputies did not initially see anyone in the room. Then Williams appeared, pointing a gun at the deputies. Holsonback and Brooks fired their service revolvers approximately six times. Williams was hit twice and fell to the ground, Judd said.

At the same time, Judd said, Lane shouted that he had been shot in the arm. One of the bullets fired by the deputies at Williams had passed through the wall of the mobile home, hitting Lane in the shoulder. The bullet then penetrated his rib cage.

During his remarks at the memorial service, Judd made it clear that the deputies accompanying Lane on the fateful roll call were in no way responsible for Lane’s death.

“They were set up for a surprise attack by a drug-infested, mean, evil person who pointed a gun directly at their face to make them think their death was imminent,” Judd said. “Let’s be clear. My deputies did exactly what they should have done, what they are trained to do and exactly what I expected them to do in that perilous second to protect their lives. Tragically, the Deputy Blane Lane lost his life in that necessary gunshot Listen carefully, there is one person, and only one, to blame for the death of Deputy Blane Lane.

Tampa Police
Victory Church stood tall Tuesday as first responders from across Florida converged on North Lakeland to pay their respects to a 21-year-old Mulberry native who died while living his dream of being a sheriff’s deputy.

Born January 12, 2001 in Brandon, Lane graduated from Mulberry High School where he played football and golf, and was active in Future Farmers of America. According to Lane’s family, his favorite pastimes included the shooting range, fishing, hunting, golf, baseball and football. He also had a heart of gold. He often brought home abandoned dogs and always donated money to people in need.

Lane graduated from the academy in September 2020 and worked as a detention assistant. Then the day he had dreamed of all his life came on January 18 when Judd swore him in as a deputy and Lane was assigned to the Northwest District office as a patrol deputy.

Lane is survived by his 3-year-old daughter, Kate Lane; her stepson, Trace “Timmy” Wood; parents, Shellie and Wayne Lane; sister, Maddix Lane; grandparents, Darrel and Debbie Sodders, Kathy Stader, Elizabeth and Charlie Jones; his cousin and best friend, Brady Patisaul; as well as his extended family and many friends.

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The Polk County Sheriff’s Office charged Williams with 13 crimes in Lane’s death, including:

• Second degree murder of law enforcement officer
• Three counts of aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer
• Three counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
• Three counts of resisting arrest
• Three counts of possession of ammunition by a convicted felon
• Possession of methamphetamine.

She will be held in Polk County Jail upon release from hospital, where she remains in stable condition.

During a search of the mobile home Williams shared with two other people, deputies found the following firearms displayed openly on a wall-mounted gun rack in the hallway:

• A Marlin Model 99M1 .22 caliber rifle with scope with one live round in the chamber and seven rounds in the magazine tube
• A Connecticut Valley Arms Inc. 12-gauge single-shot shotgun.
• A 410 caliber bolt-action shotgun with live ammunition chambered

Deputies arrested the two convicted felons living with Williams: Donald Mathis, DOB 8/11/50 and Joseph Larry Albritton, Jr., DOB 9/18/67, on three counts of felon possession of a firearm convicted, five counts of possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, and Albritton was also charged with breach of probation.

Mathis was also charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of paraphernalia after detectives found a small plastic bag in his bedroom with a substance that tested positive for methamphetamine, along with three boxes of ammunition.

Mathis’ criminal history includes 13 felonies and 11 misdemeanors. He spent a year and a half in state prison for possession of cocaine. He has had numerous arrests since 1991 for possession of cocaine with intent to sell, grand larceny, assault, DUI and petty theft.

Albritton’s criminal history includes eight felonies and 22 misdemeanors. Since 1986, he has been arrested multiple times, charged with aggravated battery, domestic violence, resisting arrest, trespassing, DUI, possession of methamphetamine and marijuana, driving with a suspended license and tampering with a witness.

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