DeLand Police, Volusia Sheriff's Office create task force to respond to recent gun violence

The DeLand Police Department has formed a task force with the Volusia Sheriff’s Office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement to combat recent gun violence in our community.

“Any type of violence has zero place in our community,” said Police Chief Jason Umberger. “It has to stop now and the DeLand Police Department and our partners are committed to putting an end to it.” 

Beginning on October 29, a series of targeted and violent shootings have occurred in DeLand and neighboring unincorporated areas. The vast majority of these incidents have occurred in the south end of the City.

In that timeframe, there have been two separate incidents where two persons were shot and injured, and another shooting that resulted in a criminal homicide. There have also been four incidents where criminals have fired guns in the community. DeLand Police Detectives have been investigating these crimes diligently and are working all possible leads.

In the latest shooting, police responded early Sunday morning after reports of several gunshots at the intersection of East Euclid and South Kentucky Avenue with detectives recovering 30 spent rifle shell casings. One person was shot in the right leg and taken to AdventHealth DeLand for non-life-threatening injuries and later released.

In furtherance of these investigations, the DeLand Police Department has invited the Volusia County Sheriff, The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the State Attorney’s Office under State Attorney R.J. Larizza to form a Task Force to eradicate this violence and vigorously pursue and hold accountable the criminals who have carried out these shootings. This includes persons who have aided these criminals in accomplishing these acts.

The benefit for our community in creating this violent crimes task force is enhanced sharing of information, and the DeLand PD can enjoy special investigative capabilities that both the FDLE and Volusia Sheriff can bring to the table. The cooperation of our partners from the FDLE, Volusia Sheriff and State Attorney has been nothing short of outstanding. 

This initiative follows a months-long effort by the DeLand Police Department Community Engagement Team to conduct special community outreach and engagement with the people in effected areas. This will continue with special foot patrols to help keep residents safe and for police to continue to talk with citizens. Extra DeLand police officers are patrolling in the areas where this violence has occurred. In addition, Volusia County Sheriff's deputies are conducting special enforcement in the community effected by this spate of crime.

Umberger said the police department has been actively engaged with residents over the last year in the hopes of building relationships though there is more work to be done.

“Most of the people we have come across want a safe neighborhood, and we owe it to them to provide that,” Umberger said. “It’s clear there are some in our community that do not want that, and there will be consequences for their actions.”

The DeLand Police Department is urging resident to take back their community and anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers at 877-277-TIPS or people may submit an anonymous tip here: https://volusia.crimewatchfl.com/delandpd/submit-tip