Deputies searching for gunman after deadly Lakeland shooting

Deputies in Polk County are looking for the man who shot and killed another man Wednesday, possibly during a dispute over a horse.

A warrant has been issued for Celso Omar Sanchez Acosta, a 29-year-old who is also known as “Coqui.”

Photo via PCSO

Deputies say it was just after 7 p.m. Wednesday when they were called to Oakland Road East in Lakeland. They found Henry Fernandez-Soto behind a home with a gunshot wound to his chest; the 24-year-old was hospitalized but passed away early this morning.

According to Fernandez-Soto's girlfriend, the couple had driven to the home to pick up some horse-riding equipment from Sanchez Acosta. The men were meeting at the location, but neither man resides there. 

The woman told detectives that while she waited in the car, she heard gunshots and watched as Sanchez Acosta came running after Fernandez-Soto, pointing a gun at him. 

She also told them that the two men had an ongoing dispute regarding the alleged theft of a horse. She said that Fernandez-Soto told her recently that Sanchez Acosta had verbally threatened him and mentioned a rifle. 

Now, deputies are ready to charge Sanchez Acosta with murder, once they find him. They say he may be driving a white 1999 Ford F-250 with Florida tag LBFN70.

"While this was not a random shooting, we need to find and lock-up Sanchez Acosta as soon as possible. He's armed, and should be considered dangerous,” offeres Sheriff Grady Judd. “We ask that if anyone knows where Sanchez Acosta is, let us know. Call us or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS."