Click Here for ADA Accessible Format
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 PIOs@polksheriff.org.
The recent news releases sent out by the PIOs can be found here, and archived releases (older than 2017) can be found here.
On Sunday, January 22, 2023, Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested 31-year-old Devonta Gilmore of Lakeland, who is a Physical Education teacher at Union Academy Magnet School in Bartow, for Aggravated Assault on a Security Officer (F2).
Shortly before 3:00 a.m., deputies responded to a report of an aggravated assault at the front entrance security booth of Champions Gate (47659 U.S. 27) in Davenport. According to the affidavit, Gilmore attempted to enter the gated community to “pick up his girlfriend’s belongings.” Gilmore was not on the approved visitor list, and the security officer denied him access to the community.
Gilmore then drove to a secondary entrance location, where he again attempted to enter the gated community. The security officer at this location also denied Gilmore access.
Gilmore became aggravated and asked the victim, “You want this smoke? You want this smoke? You wanna bump?” He then pulled a handgun from his waistband, displayed the firearm to the victim, and placed it in his lap. Gilmore then fled the scene in a black Audi sedan.
While deputies were at the security booth investigating the incident, Gilmore returned to the location in the black Audi sedan, turning into the subdivision. He immediately stopped upon seeing law enforcement. The Audi fled north on Highway 27. Deputies searched the area and spotted the vehicle parked in the Publix parking lot. Contact was attempted with the vehicle and Mr. Gilmore was observed ducked down in the car hiding. He was taken into custody and arrested.
Mr. Gilmore told detectives he pled with the security officer to let him in the subdivision and felt disrespected when he was denied access. He admitted he showed the victim his handgun, placed it in his lap, and said “What, you want to bump?” He told detectives that “bump” meant physically fighting.
“We expect better from those entrusted with teaching our children. Because this teacher lost his cool and threatened a uniformed security officer, he has compromised his integrity and embarrassed his coworkers.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff
Gilmore is currently in the Polk County Jail and is being held without bond.