Brutal beatings kill two people and nearly kill a third, Polk County sheriff says

Three people were brutally beaten in Polk County, killing two, Sheriff Grady Judd said Saturday. The third victim is also not expected to survive.

Judd said sheriff’s officers arrested Shaun Runyon, 39, for the murders after a two-hour manhunt.

At a press conference in Davenport, a community near Haines City, Judd outlined the sequence of events.

Runyon worked for a Pennsylvania electric utility, J & B Electric, Inc., which had done work for Publix Supermarkets in Davenport. He and his colleagues lived in the Davenport area, paid for by the company.

On Friday, at about 2 a.m., Runyan got mad at his supervisor and beat him, Judd said. He then fled from work and was not seen for some time.

At 9:44 a.m. Saturday, the Polk County Police Department received a call regarding a homicide.

According to Judd, Runyon had entered a residence in Davenport where his supervisor and other co-workers lived. Seven people were home, Judd said, when Runyan came in with a baseball bat and a knife.

Runyan killed a victim while he was sleeping, Judd said. He said Runyan severely beat another victim, who was taken to a local hospital but is not expected to survive.

Sheriffs’ deputies found a third victim dead on the porch of the house. A fourth victim was hit in the shoulder and back with a baseball bat. Another man fled with his wife and 7-year-old girl.

Runyon knew every victim, the sheriff said.

The officers followed what they described as a trail of blood left by Runyon until the trail was dead.

Just before noon on Saturday, Runyan showed up at a home in Lake Wales covered in blood, claiming he had been raped, Judd said. The house he chose appears to be random, the sheriff said, and he wasn’t sure why Runyon fled to Lake Wales.

The people inside told Runyan to go to the hospital. Emergency services rushed to Lake Wales hospital and took him into custody unharmed.

The sheriff said Runyan’s motive for the violent crimes remains unclear. Polk County Police have not released the names and ages of the victims.

It is unclear where Runyan comes from. The sheriff noted that he has a criminal record in Pennsylvania. His latest arrest was a violent crime involving strangulation, the sheriff said.

Later, the sheriff’s office released Runyon’s previous criminal history, including charges of strangulation, endangering children, terrorist threats, reckless endangering, assault, various thefts, indictments, and drink-driving.

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