A Winter Park neighborhood was put on lockdown last week as police searched for a missing suspect caught in the act of burglarizing a home.
Resident Allen Lord arrived at his house along Williams Drive at around 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 3, when he found two suspects rummaging through his garage, according to Winter Park Police reports. The suspects fled the scene in a black vehicle holding what appeared to be firearms, but not before Lord pulled out a handgun of his own and fired a shot into the getaway car.
The vehicle was later found abandoned at the dead end at Ibis Court, while one suspect, Dontavian McKinnon, was found in a house under construction at 692 Penn Place with what appeared to be a bullet wound to the eye. McKinnon was arrested and sent to Orlando Regional Medical Center for treatment.
Police put the entire Park Grove neighborhood, near where north Park Avenue meets U.S. Highway 17-92, on lockdown as they conducted a search for the missing suspect, which involved two police helicopters, three K-9 teams and roughly 30 officers from Winter Park, Maitland, Seminole County and Orange County.
“Unfortunately, the second suspect was not located,” Police Chief Brett Railey wrote to the Winter Park Neighborhood Advisory Council. “The vehicle used in the burglary is in our possession and detectives continue to process evidence in at least four areas of the neighborhood.”
Winter Park saw a spike in residential burglaries this fall. Statistics from the Winter Park online crime map show that August had at least 10 residential burglaries before that number more than doubled to at least 21 in September. That number has slightly tapered off since then, reaching at least 17 burglaries in October and at least 12 in November.
December has seen at least five burglaries so far as of Wednesday, Dec. 9.
In an effort to address the perceived spike in crime, Winter Park City Commissioners Greg Seidel, Carolyn Cooper and Tom McMacken earmarked funding in early September for the next fiscal year to unfreeze two special operations positions in the police department.
Cooper said the city needs to do whatever it can to keep residents safer.
“I just want to bring our police force up to a level where we’re clearly visible,” Cooper said in September. “Quite frankly it’s more than just adding police officers, it’s also about looking at getting the most efficiency from the police officers we have.”
McKinnon has been charged with armed burglary of a dwelling structure and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill.
Lord was contacted by the Observer, but did not respond to a request for comment.