BARTOW — One woman was killed and another got injured in what Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies say was a particularly deadly domestic violence incident in unincorporated Bartow.
The incident happened around 8:40 a.m. on Sunday. On the same day, Polk deputies would arrest Christopher Pequeen, 33, who has a lengthy criminal record, and charge him with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
“This is an example of how horrific domestic violence can become,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. “Christopher Pequeen is a coward and a murderer. We will do everything we can to make sure justice is done in this case.”
What Led to This Deadly Shooting?
Alicia Manautou, public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, reported that witnesses to the shooting described a very violent incident. Pequeen and his girlfriend had recently moved into an apartment in Bartow with another couple, and the male roommate told detectives that Pequeen and his girlfriend got into an argument that morning.
“The female victim then came into her roommates’ bedroom and told the roommates that ‘she was scared that Pequeen was going to kill her and that he had held his hand over her nose and mouth so that she could not breathe,’ ” Manautou noted. Pequeen’s girlfriend said she wanted to get a restraining order against him.
The male roommate said Pequeen then came into the bedroom and pointed a gun at all three of them. According to the report, Pequeen hit the female roommate in the face with the pistol, then shot his girlfriend multiple times.
“The female roommate attempted to shield the victim and Pequeen shot her as well,” Manautou noted, adding that Pequeen then pointed his gun at the male roommate and demanded their cell phones. The male roommate gave Pequeen their phones, but he and his girlfriend were able to get out of there and run to a neighbor’s apartment, where they called 911.
What Happened When Deputies Arrived At the Scene
When deputies and Polk Fire Rescue got to the scene, they transported the female roommate and the suspect’s girlfriend to a local hospital. The girlfriend died at the hospital. The female roommate is now listed in stable condition.
Deputies say Pequeen fled the apartment on foot and tired to get rid of the the cell phones and to hide his gun, but he was quickly arrested by deputies and booked into the Polk County Jail. The charges he’s facing include:
· First Degree Murder
· Attempted First Degree Murder
· Shooting Into a Building
· Tampering with Physical Evidence
· Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon without Intent to Kill
· Robbery with a Firearm
· Tampering in Felony Life Proceeding
· Battery of a Police Dog
· Resisting an Officer without Violence
The sheriff’s office also noted that Pequeen has a lengthy criminal record that includes 18 felony charges and 17 misdemeanors. His previous charges include battery domestic violence, aggravated assault domestic violence with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, dealing in stolen property, date rape, and drug charges.
According to a study published this year in the , between 2009 and 2018, at least 54 percent of mass shootings were related to domestic or family violence. The study recommended prohibiting access to firearms for those with a history of domestic violence, noting that it has “proved effective in reducing rates of intimate partner homicide.”
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright, and author of the book When I Woke Up, You Were All Dead. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.