Click Here for ADA Accessible Format
Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies disarmed two knife wielding suspects, during two separate encounters last night and early this morning.
“These are two more examples of how dangerous this profession can be. In each of these situations, the responding deputies or the suspect could have been seriously injured or killed. I am proud of my deputies for defusing and deescalating these violent encounters and ensuring no one was physically hurt or killed.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff
The first situation occurred on Monday, April 4, 2022 just before 9:00 p.m. when deputies were serving a Polk County warrant for the arrest of 27-year-old Raymen Houston of Lakeland. Houston was wanted for failing to appear for a court appearance. When deputies arrived at the residence (539 Empire Ave., Lakeland), Houston was inside, lying in bed with a knife in his hand. Houston refused the deputies’ orders to drop the knife, forcing one of the deputies to use his Taser.
Houston dropped the knife and was arrested for Resisting an Officer with Violence (F3) and PCSO Warrant for Failure to Appear (M1). He was transported to the Polk County Jail and is being held without bond. Houston’s previous criminal history includes 17 felonies and 21 misdemeanors for sexual assault, assault, armed robbery, resisting arrest, fleeing to elude, false verification to a pawnbroker, grand theft, dealing in stolen property, domestic violence battery, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, petit theft, possession of methamphetamine, and numerous violations of probation.
The second encounter occurred just before 1:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 5th. Deputies responded to a report of an armed disturbance in the Mulberry Street area of unincorporated Lake Wales. According to the affidavit, 45-year-old Dennis Gudgen of Lake Wales was outside his residence pointing an Anderson AR15 at neighbors. One of the neighbors was able to talk Gudgen into surrendering the rifle to him.
When deputies arrived, Gudgen was inside his residence with a knife. He told deputies, “I’m not going back to jail.” Deputies talked with Gudgen and were able to calm him down and get the knife from him.
During a search of his residence, deputies located numerous loaded magazines, parts to assemble another AR15, and ammunition.
Gudgen was arrested for:
• Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon (F2)
• Possession of Ammunition by a Convicted Felon (156 counts) (F2)
• Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon without Intent to Kill (F3)
• Improper Exhibition of a Firearm (M1)
• Violation of Injunction by Possessing a Firearm (M1)
He is currently in the Polk County Jail and is being held without bond. Gudgen’s previous criminal history includes 12 felonies and 15 misdemeanors for armed robbery, kidnapping, domestic violence battery, DUI, battery on a law enforcement officer, aggravated battery, resisting arrest, possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell, trespassing, and numerous violations of probation.