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PCSO News Release

Media Contact:
Wood, Donna

Public Information Officer 
News Date: 9/30/2015 

 School Bus Shooting Suspect Arrested 

Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested 18-year-old Phillip Gerard Smith, II, Azure Isle Way, Kissimmee, charging him with 42 counts of Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon without Intent to Kill, and three counts of Shooting into an Occupied Vehicle.  Smith, currently living as a student on campus at Warner University in Lake Wales, was arrested in connection to the September 25, 2015, school bus shooting.

“As a result of a concerned citizen’s information, we have identified the person responsible for risking the lives of 39 children and three school board employees,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. “The safety of our children is our top priority.  Our detectives have worked around the clock on this investigation.  We will continue to work closely with Polk County Schools to ensure students have a safe environment, whether it’s in the classroom as they are learning, or traveling back and forth to school.” 

As previously reported: 

At approximately 3:32 pm, on Friday, September 25, 2015, a suspect fired, what was believed to be, a BB gun at two school buses traveling south on Highway 17/92.  

Video surveillance from one of the buses captured what appeared to be a light colored, four-door vehicle, possibly a Lexus, with darker tinted windows pass the bus. As the vehicle passed, breaking glass was heard.  

There were no injuries.  

The suspect vehicle was seen traveling north on Highway 17/92 north toward the Loughman area. 

Early Wednesday morning, September 30, 2015, detectives received a tip about the possible location of the vehicle – a 2001, silver, I300 Lexus with dark tinted windows.  Deputies located the vehicle in a parking lot of one of the student housing buildings at Warner University.   

Deputies made contact with Smith and located a BB handgun and pellets inside the Lexus.  Smith was attending Warner University on a partial basketball scholarship. 

Smith was arrested and transported to the Polk County Jail.