USAToday reports three Florida men were fatally beaten and shot while on their way to fish in a remote area late Friday night, according to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
During a media briefing near the scene on Lake Streety Road on Saturday morning, Judd identified the victims as Damion Tillman, 23, Keven Springfield, 30, and Brandon Rollins, 27. The three men had been friends for years, Judd said, adding the families of the victims gave police permission to release their names.
Judd, who has worked at the department since 1972, described the killings as a “massacre.”
“This is a horrific scene,” Judd said Saturday. “I’ve been to a lot of murder scenes in my life, and this ranks among the worst.”
Per DailyMail, Damion Tillman, 23; Keven Springfield, 30; and Brandon Rollins, 27, were described by their families as having been best friends for years, and all died in the Friday night massacre.
The three men were fishing at a popular lake in Frostproof, 70 miles south of Orlando in central Florida.
Tillman traveled to Lake Streety first and arrived by himself, according to Grady Judd, sheriff of Polk County.
When Rollins and Springfield arrived soon after, Tillman was being beaten by unknown attackers, and the two friends intervened to help Tillman and were shot.
Rollins called his father at about 10pm Friday and managed to only say ‘help.’
The father jumped into his car and went to where his son had said he was going fishing.
‘When he arrived he found his son Brandon barely alive, and his two friends deceased,’ the sheriff’s office said in a press release.
‘Brandon was able to say a few things to his dad, which we are not releasing at this time.’
Rollins’ father had left his home without his cellphone, so he returned to a nearby gas station and called 911, the sheriff’s office said.
‘I was just so upset last night, I just didn’t know what to do,’ said Cyril Rollins, the father of Brandon.
‘We heard some background and they fussing all that,’ he told WFLA 8.
‘But I left, I went on out here. When I got there I was looking for my son. It was a mess.
‘I found my son. I was holding him he was telling me what happened but I was too shocked to know what was going on.’
When authorities arrived at the scene, all three men were dead.
‘This is a horrific scene,’ said Judd.
‘I’ve been to a lot of murder scenes in my life and this ranks among the worst I’ve been to.’
The sheriff said they believe there was more than one killer, and that the victims knew their murderers.
‘We are seeking leads; we need help so we can solve this crime sooner rather than later because there are one or more, we suspected more, murderers that killed three people in a quiet community,’ he said.
Judd added that the suspect or suspects may have known the men.
‘You don’t just stumble upon somebody out here,’ he said.
‘It’s not like there’s a lot of people around here.
‘As you can see, it’s cow pastures and lakes.’
Police have issued a $5,000 reward for information over the attack.
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