Lakeland, Florida – A Lakeland man was arrested and charged with attempted murder in one of the most bizzare stories of 2017. The incident took place on December 7, 2017. The victim was meeting with someone to buy a gun. The gun was for his protection from a “hit” out on him. The following is an excerpt from the affidavit that describes in one version how the story unfolded:
On December 7, 2017, at 3:45am, the Polk County Sheriffs Office received information from the Lakeland Police Department regarding a robbery and shooting that occurred at the Wendy’s parking lot at 1910 Memorial Blvd West, in unincorporated Lakeland. The victim of the shooting was located at Lakeland Regional Health. At 0430 hours, I was directed to respond to West 2nd Street, Lakeland, to assume the investigation. Upon my arrival, I made contact with the victim, Errol Allen, and obtained a sworn recorded statement. The following is a summary of his statement:
At approximately midnight, Errol received a message through Snapchat from “Billy”, later identified as Billy Walker III. Billy asked Errol for a ride from Wendy’s on Memorial Blvd. Errol drove his girlfriend’s black Dodge Magnum to the Wendy’s where he made contact with Billy and an unknown black male. Billy got in the back seat of the car, behind Errol, while the unknown male got in the front passenger seat. As Errol went to reverse out of the parking spot, the unknown male brandished two guns, one revolver and one semi-automatic, and pointed them at Errol. The suspect asked Errol to “give it up”, but Errol did not have anything of value to give to him. Errol stated Billy then got out of the car. The suspect got out and approached Errol’s open window and fired one round at Errol. Errol stated he had already ducked his head down because he felt the suspect was going to shoot him. Errol was struck in the back of head by the round, which traveled left to right, grazing the back of his head. Errol then started bleeding from where he was shot. After Billy and the suspect left, Errol drove back to his house where he asked everyone to call 911 and told them he’d been shot in the head. Errol’s girlfriend drove him to the hospital.
Further, during Errol’s statement, he stated when the suspect pulled the firearms out, Billy got out of the vehicle and started to walk away. According to Errol, he felt Billy did not know the suspect was going to rob him.
Lakeland Police Department received the call at 0104 hours and responded to the scene. Errol was treated for his wound and discharged from LRH.
Crime Scene Investigator Atkinson #6459 responded to the scene and processed the vehicle, a black Dodge Magnum. CSI Atkinson located the projectile on the back, passenger side floorboard. CSI Atkinson also determined the trajectory of the bullet. The trajectory and location of the projectile corroborated Errol’s statement.
Errol was taken to the Wendy’s and he was able to show specifically which parking lot he pulled into when he made contact with Billy and the suspect. No casings were located in the Wendy’s parking lot.
Video from Wendy’s showed that Errol arrived at 0056 hours and two subjects got in his car. At 0100 hours, a subject, presumably Billy, exits the back passenger seat and begins to walk away from Errol’s vehicle. Seconds later the subject that got into the front passenger seat is seen walking around the front of the car and approaching Errol’s window. This subject then runs away from the car, passing by the subject believed to be Billy as he is walking. When the shooting subject runs past the person believed to be Billy, Billy starts to run as well. The video also corroborated Errol’s statement.
On December 8th, 2017, Billy’s father made contact with me via cellphone. The father stated Billy was being transported to the Northwest District Substation to be interviewed. I met with Billy at this substation and obtained a sworn recorded statement. The following is a summary of Billy’s statement:
Billy contacted Errol through Snapchat because Billy’s friend, “Gardner”, had two guns for sale. Errol agreed to a deal of $200 in cash, and a half ounce of marijuana for the two guns “Gardner” had. Billy stated he was
trying to get money or marijuana out of the deal as well. Errol agreed to meet Billy and “Gardner” at the Wendy’son Memorial Boulevard. Billy advised when Errol arrived at Wendy’s he got in the backseat of the car, while “Gardner” got in the front passenger seat. “Gardner” asked Errol if he had the money and the weed and Errol told him he did not have the weed. At that time, “Gardner” pointed the two firearms at Errol and Billy heard “Gardner” say “give me what you got”. Billy stated he told “Gardner” “man you’re tripping” and got out of the car. Billy was walking away and heard a gunshot, so he started running. “Gardner” got in Billy’s car, so Billy dropped him off near Hilltop Lane in Lakeland.
Billy advised he has known “Gardner” for approximately one year and has hung out and smoked marijuana with him multiple times. Billy stated he did not know “Gardener” was planning on robbing Errol and had no part in the shooting event.
I located a possible identity of Gardner M Booker B/M 8/21/1993. I showed Billy a single booking photo of Gardner M Booker and he positively identified him as the same Gardner who pointed the guns at Errol and shot him.
A photo pack containing Gardner M Booker’s photo was shown to Errol by an independent administrator. Errol viewed the photo pack and advised he could not positively identify any of the presented persons. I confronted Errol with the inconsistency between his and Billy’s statement. During a sworn recorded statement, Errol admitted he lied and that the real reason why he went to meet up Billy and the unknown subject was to make a deal with the guns. Errol advised the deal was that he would give the unknown subject $200 in cash and half an ounce of marijuana for the two guns. Errol stated he did not want to get in any trouble by saying he was going to buy a gun. Errol advised he found out a week prior that someone had a “hit” out for him and he wanted to buy the guns for his protection. When Errol told the suspect he did not have the weed, the suspect pointed the guns at him and told him “give it up”. Errol advised the suspect did take the $200 in currency from him after pointing the guns at him. When the suspect exited the vehicle and was still pointing the firearms at Errol, the suspect stated “this is for my cousin”, walked over to the driver side and said “fuck it”, and that was when he fired the shot. Errol advised he had been accused of taking someone’s “package” and that is probably what the suspect was referring to.
A criminal history revealed Gardner M Booker was convicted of a Felony Battery and Felony Criminal Mischief in Polk County, Florida on 2/4/2014. Booker was arrested on December 9, 2017 and booked into the Polk County Jail. After first appearance “no bail” was set and Booker remains incarcerated. He is being charged with Attempted First Degree Murder, Robbery With A Firearm and Possession of A Firearm By A Convicted Felon. A court date is pending for January 16, 2018.