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News and Investigations

News & Investigations

News Releases and Public Information

Welcome to the Polk County Sheriff's Office News Room, where the Public Information Officers (PIO's) post all of the information that they release to the news media. PIO's act as liaisons between news media organizations and the Sheriff's Office. The PIO's routinely release timely and accurate information and Crime Stoppers bulletins, and respond to routine and "breaking news" media inquiries. News releases and Crime Stoppers information can be found on this page.

PCSO's full-time Public Information Officers are Brian Bruchey, Carrie Horstman, and Alicia Manautou. The Public Information Officers can be reached by sending an e-mail collectively at

The recent news releases sent out by the PIOs can be found here, and archived releases (older than 2017) can be found here.

Nov 9, 2020

PCSO investigating a shooting that left one dead and one injured

Media Contact: Alicia Manautou, PIO

Deputies from the Polk County Sheriff's Office responded to a domestic violence call inChristopher Pequeen unincorporated Bartow at around 8:40 a.m., Sunday, November 8, 2020. PCSO deputies arrested 33-year-old Christopher Pequeen for first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and other charges after a shooting during which one female victim was killed and another female victim was injured.

According to the affidavit, and witness statements, Pequeen and the female victim (girlfriend) had recently moved into a Bartow apartment with another male and female couple. The male roommate told detectives that Pequeen and the victim had been arguing early that morning. The female victim then came into her roommates’ bedroom and told the roommates that “she was scared that Pequeen was going to kill her and that he had held his hand over her nose and mouth so that she could not breathe.” She also stated that she wanted to obtain a restraining order against Pequeen.

According to the witness, that is when Pequeen entered the bedroom and pointed a gun at all three individuals. Pequeen then hit the female victim (roommate) in the face with the pistol and then shot his girlfriend multiple times. The female roommate attempted to shield the victim and Pequeen shot her as well.  

Pequeen then pointed the pistol at the male roommate and demanded their cell phones. The male roommate gave Pequeen the phones. 

The roommates ran to a neighbor’s apartment and called 911. Deputies and Polk Fire Rescue responded. The female roommate who was shot and the girlfriend were transported to a local hospital. The girlfriend died at the hospital. The female roommate is currently in stable condition. 

Pequeen fled the scene on foot and attempted to discard the cell phones and hide the firearm. Pequeen was arrested soon after by responding deputies and was booked into the Polk County Jail on the following charges:

• First Degree Murder (FC)
• Attempted First Degree Murder (F1)
• Shooting Into a Building (F2)
• Tampering with Physical Evidence (F3)
• Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon without Intent to Kill (F3)
• Robbery with a Firearm (FL)
• Tampering in Felony Life Proceeding (FL)
• Battery of a Police Dog (M1)
• Resisting an Officer without Violence (M1)

Pequeen’s criminal history includes 18 felony charges and 17 misdemeanors, charges such as battery domestic violence, aggravated assault domestic violence with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, dealing in stolen property, date rape, and drug charges. 

“This is an example of how horrific domestic violence can become. Christopher Pequeen is a coward and a murderer. We will do everything we can to make sure justice is done in this case.”Grady Judd, Sheriff