• Neighborhood where Kissimmee officers shot has crime-ridden history

    By: Jeff Levkulich


    KISSIMMEE, Fla. - The McLaren Circle neighborhood, where two Kissimmee police officers were fatally shot Friday, has a long history of drugs and crime, residents and crime statistics show.

    Kissimmee police Officer Matthew Baxter and Sgt. Sam Howard were shot in a scuffle at about 9:30 p.m. at Palmway and East Cypress streets, near East Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway and North Main Street, Kissimmee police Chief Jeff O’Dell said.

    Photos: 2 Kissimmee police officers shot and killed

    Baxter died of his injuries at the scene. Howard succumbed Saturday to his injuries at Osceola Regional Medical Center.

    Read: Police: 2 Kissimmee police officers fatally shot

    Stella Hunter and her granddaughter visited the area to plant a flower and place a card at the spot where the officers were shot and killed.

    “I wanted to do something to say that we in the neighborhood do care about the police department,” Hunter said. “They’re heroes—unsung heroes.”

    Read: Timeline of shootings of Kissimmee police officers

    In the McLaren Circle neighborhood, heroes are hard to come by. Signs warn about the penalties to people dealing drugs.

    Many people said they were too scared to speak with Channel 9’s Jeff Levkulich about the crime problem. John Robeson, who lives a couple blocks away from the shooting, said he heard the shots.

    Read: Trump, community reacts to shootings of Kissimmee police officers

    “It’s terrible. This neighborhood is awful. It’s grown in the past five years I’ve lived in the neighborhood,” said Robeson.

    Channel 9 has been covering crime in the neighborhood for more than a decade. In 2008, federal agents carried out a massive drug sting, netting 19 arrests.


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