LAKELAND, FL – The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a deputy-involved shooting in unincorporated Davenport involving three deputies and a suspect who charged them with a knife, stabbing one of the deputies.
Around 2:45 p.m. on Sunday, January 23, 2022, deputies assigned to the Northeast District responded to the Providence subdivision in response to a 911 call from an elderly woman who reported her adult son, 47-year-old Arthur Martin, was trying to kill her. The victim told deputies that she was napping on the living room couch when she was awakened by Martin trying to smother her by holding a pillow on her face. The victim struggled to get free, and was eventually able to escape. She ran outside, got in her car, and called 911. She later told deputies she did not know why he tried to kill her and that they had not recently had any arguments.
When deputies arrived, they quickly determined Martin was inside his bedroom on the second floor. They called for him to come out but received no response. They entered the bedroom and learned he was inside the master bathroom. He refused all their commands to come out of the bathroom with his hands up, so they attempted to enter while Martin attempted to keep the door shut from within. The deputies were able to get the door open, at which time Martin immediately charged all three deputies, armed with a large knife. Martin struck Deputy Sheriff Aurelio Nicolas in the face, while also stabbing him on the top of his head. D/S Nicolas deployed his Taser, which was ineffective. All three deputies were forced to shoot Martin. He is deceased.
Martin, has a criminal history from New York: he was arrested by Suffolk P.D. in August 2015 for DUI (a misdemeanor) and was convicted. He was arrested by Suffolk P.D. in June 2014 for armed assault with intent to cause serious injury (a felony) and was convicted; in 2016 he was sentenced to four years in state prison – he was released on parole in January 2019. Upon his arrival to Polk County, he registered as a felon, and his parole was set to expire in January 2024. He also had an active injunction for protection in New York, prohibiting him from having any contact with an adult female and two children.
“Here is one more example of how dangerous this job is. When deputies respond to family disturbances, they do everything they can to resolve the situation. My deputies did not choose to shoot this violent, convicted felon – he forced them to when he charged them with a knife and began attacking.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff
The other two deputies involved are Deputy Sheriff Odalys Hurtado (female) and Deputy Sheriff Kyle Pitts.
Deputy Nicolas received stitches for the laceration on his head, and his face is bruised from the strike to the face by Martin. He was hired as a detention deputy in June 2020 and became a deputy sheriff in September 2021.
Deputy Hurtado was hired as a deputy sheriff in January 2019. Deputy Pitts was hired as a detention deputy in October 2017 and became a deputy sheriff in January 2018. Per agency protocol the deputies involved will be on administrative leave with pay during the initial phase of the investigation.
Standard protocol for all deputy-involved shootings includes four independent investigations: the PCSO Homicide Unit will conduct a death investigation, PCSO Administrative Investigations will conduct an administrative inquiry, the State Attorney’s Office will conduct a separate investigation, and the 10th District Medical Examiner office will conduct an investigation to determine the cause and manner of death.
The investigation is ongoing.