Clewiston man allegedly shot over puppy

A Clewiston man was shot in the leg after reportedly fighting with a couple over a puppy, the Clewiston Police Department (CPD) reported Monday.

At around 4:03 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 23, Clewiston police officers responded to a possible shooting in the 600 block of E. Trinidad Avenue, according to an arrest report released by CPD.

When officers arrived, they took statements from the four individuals involved and several witnesses. Based on those statements and evidence recovered at the scene, officers reportedly found probable cause to arrest and charge Latonya Ann Jackson, 28, and David Wayne Freeman Jr., 31, both from Clewiston.

The incident reportedly took place at around 3:50 p.m. that day, after 30-year-old Tisha Marie Cruz and 36-year-old William Smith Jr. reportedly went to ask Jackson at her apartment on E. Trinidad whether or not she allegedly stole a puppy from their yard out of city limits.

It is reported that when Cruz and Smith spoke with Jackson, Cruz and Jackson began fighting, punching each other and pulling each other’s hair. As the two women were fighting, Freeman allegedly grabbed a gun from the apartment and began fighting with Smith before shooting him in the right leg, shattering his femur.

Freeman then reportedly fled the area, leaving the gun behind, which Jackson allegedly hid in a box in her bedroom. During a search of the apartment, police reportedly found the gun, a small bag filled with about seven grams worth of marijuana and a grinder.

Jackson was arrested and charged with tampering with evidence, possession of 20 grams or less of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was booked in the Hendry County Jail and released the same day on a $5,500 bond.

Freeman was arrested and charged with aggravated battery, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of 20 grams or less of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia. Freeman was released from the Hendry County Jail on a $38,000 bond on Jan. 26.

Smith spoke with The Clewiston News after the incident and said it should never have escalated to the point that it did. “I didn’t go [to Jackson’s residence] with any aggression. I just wanted to ask if they had my dog. She [Jackson] turned aggressive when I asked about the dog.” According to Smith, the puppy in question was inside the Jackson residence when they arrived, however, that information has not been verified by the Clewiston Police Department.

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