News Release: Lake City Police Department
On Tuesday, 2/18/14 at approximately 1:17pm the Lake City Police Department responded to the Gateway Inn, located at 3783 NW US Highway 90 in Lake City regarding a request for a well-being check on a resident. Employees of the Gateway Inn stated that they were cleaning Room 35, which had already been checked out. When cleaning staff went to remove bedding from one of the beds, they discovered a white male, later identified as Brandon Turner, unresponsive under the sheets.
Officer Louis Troiano, the first to respond to the scene, found the room door open and observed Turner lying in the bed and did not appear responsive. After shaking the bed several times and announcing himself as a Police Officer, Turner awoke and sat up. Troiano told Turner that he was in the room past checkout and that he needed to leave or make arrangements to stay longer with the hotel. Turner got up from the bed and began to gather his clothing. While he did so, Troiano noticed a plastic bag sitting on the other bed in the room. The bag contained coffee filters and a clear jar with a strange looking liquid inside. He also noticed a propane tank next to the bed.
Troiano asked Turner about the items and their purpose. Turner replied that the items were not his, and then ran from the room. Turner fled across the parking lot, disrobing and dropping his remaining clothing in the process. He ran into the nearby woods, and was unable to be located. Turner also dropped a cigarette pack that was recovered and found to contain two bags containing a green leafy substance and a white powdery substance. Field tests of both substances later showed positive for the presence of cannabis and methamphetamine, respectively.
Officers from LCPD’s Criminal Interdiction Unit, as well as the Columbia County Joint Drug Taskforce, responded to the Gateway Inn where they observed items consistent with the clandestine manufacture of methamphetamine as well as hypodermic needles and a Pyrex dish containing residue in plain view. A Search Warrant was obtained and was served at approximately 5:00pm. Meth lab response personnel, equipped in full HAZMAT protection suits, entered the room and removed several materials and items from the room. Residue and powders found tested positive for Methamphetamine.
Later that same evening, at approximately 11:00pm, Officer Garret Register responded to an address a few blocks away regarding a report of a domestic disturbance that was turning physical. Upon arrival, he made contact with the victim who stated that her ex-boyfriend and father of her child was following and harassing her. She stated that she was attempting to walk home from work when he found her and began begging to stay with her that evening. He told her that he was homeless since the hotel room she had rented for him nearby was no longer available. Investigation into the case revealed that her boyfriend was Turner.
The victim stated that she walked quickly in an attempt to evade Turner telling him to leave her alone. When she did, Turner ran and caught up with her and, according to the victim, struck her several times in the back of the head. The victim, who had a black eye that was in the process of healing at the time of the report, stated that it had also been caused by Turner several days prior. Officer Register was able to determine that Turner had waited for the victim outside of her work, stalked her, and battered her on her way home. He was arrested for Domestic Violence Battery. While processing Turner, Register realized that he was the same subject from the earlier incident at the Gateway Inn.
Turner was transported to the Lake City Police Department where he was interviewed by narcotics detectives. After being advised of his rights, Turner agreed to an interview in which he admitted to smoking and snorting methamphetamine the previous night, before passing out in the bed. He stated that his next memory was of being awoken by Officer Troiano.
Turner was transported to the Columbia County Jail and charged with various drug charges including possession and manufacturing and resisting arrest. He was also charged with Domestic Violence Battery. Turner is currently being held on a $15,000 bond.