LAKE WALES, Fla. -The Lake Wales Police Department is investigating two shootings that occurred around 7:00 a.m. Wednesday, – the fatal shooting of LWPD Officer Jared Joyner’s canine partner Max, and the officer-involved shooting that occurred subsequent to that.
According to police, at 5:06 a.m. on Wednesday morning, the PCSO Emergency Communications Center received a 911 call from a victim on Seminole Avenue in Lake Wales who reported that the suspect, 57-year-old Earnest Borders, had dragged her out of a car, choked her, hit her head on the concrete, and then fired a gun multiple times outside her apartment.
A second 911 call came in also asking for law enforcement to respond after shots were heard.
When officers responded to the scene, Borders had fled from the area and found nine shell casings where the victim reported that he was firing the gun.
Borders was later seen returning to the area several hundred feet west of MLK Blvd. near the railroad tracks.
LWPD Officers responded, and Borders ran into and concealed himself in a wooded area. LWPD K-9 Officer Jared Joyner and his K-9 partner Max searched the area, along with other officers.
“Max located Borders concealed in a densely wooded area. Borders refused to comply with repeated commands by the officers to show his hands, and then he shot and murdered K-9 Max,” said Lake Wales Police Department.
The officers defended themselves by returning fire at Borders, who was still armed with a stolen Smith & Wesson 9 mm handgun.
The officers performed life-saving measures on Borders, and he was transported to a local hospital where he was declared deceased. K-9 Max succumbed to his injuries at the scene.
He has been transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office for a necropsy.
Borders’ criminal history includes violent crimes, with 24 prior felonies, 4 prior misdemeanors, and 18 felony convictions.
He has been sentenced to Florida State Prison three times. His previous charges include possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, battery, assault, grand theft (multiple counts), numerous failures to appear in court, theft (numerous), violation of probation (multiple counts), larceny, tampering with a witness, dealing in stolen property (multiple counts), and driving while license suspended.
Officer Joyner is 40 years old and an 11-year veteran of LWPD. His K-9 partner Max, a Belgian Malinois, was paired with him in December 2015. K-9 Max was seven years old.
The Lake Wales Police Department has requested the Polk County Sheriff’s Office to conduct the shooting investigation.
Standard protocol for officer-involved shootings includes four independent investigations: the PCSO Homicide Unit will conduct a death investigation, Lake Wales Police will conduct an administrative inquiry, the State Attorney’s Office will conduct a separate investigation, and the 10th District Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an investigation to determine the causes and manners of death for Borders and K-9 Max.
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