Armed Lakeland man killed by officers, police say

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An officer-involved shooting ended with a 71-year-old man dead Thursday night, police said.

Police in Lakeland say they responded to a home along Westcrest Drive after complaints of a man yelling racial slurs at his neighbors. Investigators said the man, later identified as Jerry Roach, fired one shot into the air and then pointed his gun at his neighbors from his front yard.

Officers evacuated the surrounding homes and made contact with Roach via phone, asking him to come out peacefully. According to a media release, at first, he refused to leave his home, then during the final phone conversation, he said he was coming out, but officers would have to kill him. He also said he was bringing a shotgun.

Just before 11 p.m., officers say, he did just that. When he approached officers and refused their orders to drop the weapon, six officers simultaneously shot Roach.

Roach was transported to Lakeland Regional Health, where he was pronounced dead, the agency said during a Friday morning press conference.

Police said they have responded to Roach’s home eight times prior to Thursday night’s fatal officer-involved shooting.

All officers have been placed on an administrative leave, which is a standard procedure, during the investigation, police added.