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21-year-old Polk County Sheriff's deputy killed in Polk City shooting

Deputy Blane Lane was sworn into the sheriff's office in January 2022 and served almost nine months before his death.

POLK CITY, Fla. — A 21-year-old Polk County deputy died Tuesday at the hospital after getting shot while serving a felony warrant in Polk City.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd explained Deputy Blane Lane died in the line of duty after being accidentally hit by another deputy's round. He called the situation "very difficult," saying Lane was loved by friends and colleagues.

"He was a great deputy, he was eager, he was brilliant. He learned [and] absorbed information like a sponge, and he was careful when he did his job," Judd said.

The incident leading up to the 21-year-old's death started at 2:07 a.m. when the sheriff's office received a Heartland Crime Stoppers tip of the location of 46-year-old Cheryl Williams, who had an outstanding felony warrant, the sheriff's office said.

Credit: Polk County Sheriff's Office
Cheryl Williams

Four deputies, including Lane, responded to the location where they saw two different men standing outside, Judd said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon. The first man standing in the front of the mobile home told deputies Williams was at the back door.

When deputies went around back, they saw another man who was standing at the back door. After asking if Williams was inside, the man reportedly told them she was and to go on inside.

Three of the deputies went inside the home while Lane decided to take up a tactical position outside near the front where he could see — but not in view of the front door or windows.

Judd said while Lane was outside, the other deputies approached a "gaming" room and initially didn't see anyone inside. But that was when Williams stepped into view with a gun in her hand pointed at them, according to the sheriff.

Two deputies immediately fired their guns at Williams, striking her at least two times before she went down.

While this was happening, Lane said he was hit. The man who was standing outside reportedly saw Lane grab at his shoulder before walking out and getting down on one knee.

According to Judd, a deputy from inside ran out to help Lane, who was later transported to Lakeland Regional Health. It was one of the bullets fired inside toward Williams that struck the deputy.

While it initially seemed like Lane was just shot in the left arm, it soon was revealed that the round entered his chest, the sheriff explained. The 21-year-old died from his injuries.

Judd said if Lane was 3 inches in or three inches back, the bullet would've missed him.

"This is very difficult," the sheriff said when talking about Lane's death. "This is like losing one of your kids."

Williams was also taken to the hospital where she was treated for gunshot wounds. The agency says she remains at the hospital.

The man who was standing outside the back door told deputies during an interview that Williams picked up a gun and walked away from him when she realized law enforcement was there. He reportedly told her," You don't want to do that," to which she replied, "Let them in."

Judd said the gun Williams pointed at deputies turned out to be a BB gun.

Williams was charged with second-degree felony murder, including 13 other charges. She will be booked into the county jail after she gets released from the hospital where she is in stable condition, the sheriff's office said in an update Wednesday. 

Deputies say when they searched Williams' home, they found three firearms openly displayed on a gun rack attached to a wall. 

The two men that lived at the same home were reportedly also arrested and are facing charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Lane lived in Fort Meade and entered the police academy in September 2020 before graduating and becoming a detention deputy in May 2021. He was sworn in as a deputy with the sheriff's office in January 2022 and was assigned to the Northwest District Patrol team.

He leaves behind a 3-year-old child.

A funeral with full law enforcement honors will take place next week. More information will be released later.

"Please keep Deputy Lane’s family and our PCSO family in your prayers during this difficult time," the agency said in a statement.

Credit: 10 Tampa Bay

Watch the full news conference down below.

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