LAKELAND, Ga. (CW44 News At 10) – A man suspected of a murder in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday was apprehended on Wednesday in Lakeland, Georgia for committing additional crimes, ranging from armed home invasion to the attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.

On Wednesday, July 22, 2020, the Lanier County Sheriff’s Office requested GBI’s Douglas Regional Office to assist with an investigation involving a series of home invasions which led to an officer involved shooting incident.

Preliminary information indicates that at approximately 11:50 a.m., the Lanier County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to Old Stockton Road in Lakeland, Georgia regarding a home invasion in which the homeowner was shot and an unsuccessful attempt was made to steal his vehicle.

The subject, later identified as William “Billy” Welland, Jr., age 37, was driving a black Audi that was reported stolen from the Tampa area and was allegedly involved in a homicide that occurred in Tampa on July 21, 2020, as reported by CW44 News At 10.

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Welland drove to a residence on Crisp School Road, entered another residence, and stole a mini-van. Welland was then observed by law enforcement who attempted to make a traffic stop. Welland led officers on a short chase before pulling behind a residence on Highway 122 East. He exited the vehicle and attempted to run.

While on foot, Welland pointed firearms at officers and gunfire was exchanged. One officer was grazed by gunfire and was later treated and released from South Georgia Medical Center – Lanier Campus. Welland was shot multiple times and is currently being treated at South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta. The victim of the home invasion is also being treated at South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta.

This GBI investigation is active and ongoing. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Lanier County Sheriff’s Office (229) 482-3545 or the GBI Douglas office (912) 389-4103.

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