Lakeland Police Investigating Death of Auto Shop Owner

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LAKELAND, Fla. — Lakeland Police continue to investigate the shooting death of an auto repair shop owner late Friday.

The deadly shooting happened around 11:35 p.m. Friday at Artillery Motorsports, located at 3609 Century Boulevard, across the street from the Lakeland Linder International Airport. So far there have been no arrests.

Lakeland Police said Steven Schelmety, 32, the business owner, was killed.

The deadly shooting left Jim Elser, who runs a business next door, in total shock. He just talked to Schelmety Thursday.

“It still doesn’t seem real right now. Good guy. Good people. Just unbelievable,” said Elser. “He was kind of a quiet guy and he worked a lot at night on high performance cars.”

Garage door, office sprayed with bullets

Elser said the landlord shared with him what happened. 

“They have video surveillance and what happened looked like it was a tan Toyota Tacoma truck, they kind of parked right up here and waited and when they raised the, I don’t know if they knew they were getting ready to leave, they raised the overhead door and as soon as they did, they started shooting. He fell down and they started shooting at the door,” Elser explained. 

The garage door and door to the office of the business were sprayed with bullets holes. Investigators labeled 27 of them. 

According to Schelmety’s wife, his 70-year-old father was also shot in the leg, but is expected to survive.  She said he had one surgery thus far and is expected to have another one soon. 

Limited information released

Lakeland Police have released limited information about this investigation, only releasing images of a truck which they’re calling a “vehicle of interest.” 

“They need to find out who did this because I don’t even want to be here right now,” Elser said. 

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for any information that leads to an arrest in this case.  

People can also call Detective Tim McDonald at (863) 834-8955 with information. 

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