Guns and Gear

Violent Gang Member Harassed And Shot Florida Man Who Was Also Carrying A Gun

Photo of Chuck Ross
Chuck Ross
Reporter

A Florida man who had every good reason to carry a firearm for self-protection used it to defend himself Wednesday evening after a teenage gang member with a long rap sheet pulled a gun on him and allegedly opened fire.

Virgis Canteen, 43, and Davion Smith, 14, had encountered each other before.

According to Lakeland police records, Canteen accused the young gang member of burglarizing his apartment last month, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Tension between the two escalated Wednesday as Smith and two other teens began taunting Canteen.

According to a witness who saw the encounter unfold, Smith pulled a handgun during the harassment. And according to Canteen, Smith fired first, striking him in the “upper extremities,” according to a report filed by Lakeland police Sgt. Gary Gross, the Sentinel reported.

Canteen shot back, hitting Smith “numerous times.” He was transported to a Lakeland hospital and pronounced dead about half-an-hour later, at 8:25 p.m.

Despite his age, Smith had amassed an extensive police record. According to the Sentinel, court records showed that Smith had been convicted of felony armed robbery with a gun twice since the age of 12. He also had convictions for burglary of a habitat and for battery on a public or school official.

The Lakeland Ledger provided more detail of Smith’s rap sheet. That paper reported that the known gang member was arrested in Nov. 2012 following a shooting at a farmer’s market that left a 79-year-old man wounded. Besides armed robbery, Smith and six other accomplices were charged with attempted murder.

According to the Lakeland Ledger, Canteen does not have a police record in Polk County.

Though it is unknown whether Canteen had a concealed carry permit, he had ample reason to carry a firearm.

He suffered life-threatening injuries after he was shot during a robbery four years ago, the Ledger reported.

Canteen, who, according to the paper, is known as “the DVD man” in his neighborhood because he buys and sells movies, is the “perfect” neighbor, according to a woman who lives by him.

“He looks out for everybody,” the neighbor told the Lakeland Ledger. “He didn’t bother nobody.”

Both newspapers reported that Canteen was transported to the hospital following the shooting but his medical condition is undisclosed.

Follow Chuck on Twitter