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Oct 23, 2023

Motive unknown in Winter Haven murder; killer arrested by PCSO

Media Contact: Brian Bruchey, PIO

The body of 20-year old Roderick Wilson, Jr. was found early Sunday morning, October 22nd, 2023, lying in the parking lot of the Pentecostal Church of God at 1261 34th Street NW in Winter Haven. Wilson’s father is a pastor at the church, and Wilson has been living in an apartment on church property.

Wilson’s killer was arrested later that afternoon and identified as 22-year old Taquion “Quan” Cotton. He lives a couple of streets over from the church.

At about 1:47 am Sunday, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office was notified by a passerby about a body at the church.

PCSO deputies quickly arrived and found Wilson with multiple gunshot wounds, and deceased.

PCSO Homicide Investigations and Crime Scene Investigations both responded and began collecting evidence and conducting interviews.

Security video from a building in the area captured the murder.

“Detectives are still trying to determine Taquion Cotton’s motivation to commit this murder. At this time, there is no indication the two men knew each other prior to tonight. Despite the murderer being locked-up, there is still work to be done. Please keep Roderick Wilson’s family in your thoughts and prayers.” Grady Judd, Sheriff.

Sunday afternoon, while PCSO detectives were in the area searching for the suspect, they spotted Cotton in the roadway, not far from the crime scene. Cotton fled to a nearby residence after seeing a woman entering her home. Cotton battered the woman and put her in a chokehold while trying to get into her home.

Cotton’s mother, who lives in the area, ran to the woman’s aid, and tried to assist deputies with apprehending her son. Cotton then began biting his mother, so deputies were forced to use a Taser on Cotton to protect the two women and get him secured.
Once in custody, Cotton yelled at his mother, demanding that she not press charges against him for biting her.

Cotton’s firearm has not yet been recovered. 

Taquion Cotton was charged with: 1st Degree Murder (FC), Burglary with Battery (F1), Kidnapping (F1), Battery-Domestic with Prior Conviction (F3), Harassing in a Felony Proceeding (F3), Resisting with Violence (F3), Tampering with Physical Evidence (F3), Discharging a Firearm in a Residential Area (M1), and Resisting without Violence (M1).

Cotton’s prior criminal history includes 11 felonies and 9 misdemeanors consisting of: attempted murder, aggravated battery on a pregnant victim, burglaries, thefts, batteries, drug and weapons violations, and resisting.

If anyone has additional information regarding the murder and/or relationship of the two men, you are urged to call the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 863-298-6200 or to remain anonymous, call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS.