|POLK CITY — The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is mourning the loss of 21-year-old Deputy Sheriff Blane Lane, who died in the line of duty on Tuesday in a deputy-involved shooting.|
There will be a memorial service for Blane Lane on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 10 a.m., at the Victory Church, 1401 Griffin Road in Lakeland.
There will be no public viewing or gravesite service. Law enforcement honors will take place outside the church immediately following the church service.
“Please keep Deputy Lane’s family and our PCSO family in your prayers during this difficult time,” noted Carrie Horstman, public information director for the Sheriff’s Office.
Victory Church has offered to live-stream the service on their Facebook page and website, which the Sheriff’s Office will also share live on the PCSO Facebook page and PCSO website.
How did this tragic incident happen?
At 2:07 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4, the Sheriff’s Office received a Heartland Crime Stoppers tip that Cheryl Lynn Williams, 46, wanted on an outstanding felony warrant for failure to appear on a possession of methamphetamine charge, was at a home in Polk City.
As Horstman noted in her report, Sergeant Michael Brooks, and Deputies Johnny Holsonback III, Adam Pennell, and Lane arrived at the home at 3:08 a.m. Shots were fired, and Lane was hit in the left arm and the round entered his chest. Tragically, he died at Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center.
The shooting happened shortly after deputies got to the house, Horstman noted.
“The first witness at the trailer home told the deputies when they arrived at the front door that Williams was at the back door,” Horstman noted. “The second witness who was at the back door told them, ‘She’s in here’ and all of the deputies except Lane went inside. Lane took up a tactical position outside the trailer near the front side. Lane’s tactical position afforded him the view of the door and windows to ensure that he would see the suspect in the event she tried to flee.”
The deputies approached a gaming room but didn’t initially see anyone in there. “Williams then stepped into view armed with a silver handgun which she immediately pointed at them,” Horstman noted. “Shots were fired and the suspect went down.”
Lane reported that he had been shot in his arm and was transported to the hospital. Williams was also transported to a local hospital to be treated for multiple gunshot wounds, and is listed in stable condition.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd called it a painful tragedy for the department.
“When deputies arrived at this residence following up on a Crime Stoppers tip that Cheryl Williams was there with an active warrant, they gave her every opportunity to turn herself in,” Judd noted. “She made the choice to hide, and then to jump out while pointing a gun at them. Everyone in that house is a convicted felon with a criminal history, but all they had to do was cooperate, and this tragedy would never have occurred.”
A second witness to the shooting told deputies that when Williams realized deputies had arrived, she picked up the handgun.
“He told her, ‘You don’t want to do that,’ and she replied, ‘Let them in,’ ” Horstman noted. “The handgun turned out to be a very realistic-looking BB gun.”
This investigation is ongoing. According to the report, both Brooks and Holsonback fired their agency-issued firearms, and the round that struck Lane came from one of their firearms.
Lane lived in Fort Meade. He entered the Polk State College KCTIPS dual law enforcement-detention academy in September 2020, graduated, and was hired as a Detention Deputy in May 2021. He became a Deputy Sheriff in January 2022, and was assigned to Northwest District Patrol.
Cheryl Williams will be charged with felony second degree murder. Williams’ criminal history includes 11 felonies and four misdemeanors. She spent 9 years in the Florida state prison system for an 11-year sentence for trafficking in meth.
“Cheryl Williams would have been taken into custody peacefully, and would solely be facing her original failure to appear charge,” Judd said. “Now she is responsible for the death of Deputy Lane, a young man who had his entire life ahead of him, eager to serve the people of Polk County while making a positive difference as a law enforcement officer.”
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright, and author of the book “Bloody Rabbit”. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.