The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a triple shooting that occurred around 4:15 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, February 23, 2023, on Sawfish Drive in Poinciana, that resulted in the death of the adult male suspect, and critical injuries to two victims, an adult male and adult female.
That afternoon, PCSO received a 911 call from a home on Sawfish Drive, regarding a shooting and a vehicle crash.
Deputies arrived and located Victim 1, who had been shot multiple times, including in the face. He was standing in the street seeking assistance after crashing his Nissan Altima into the yard across the street. Victim 1 is a 30-year-old black male, and is currently in critical condition and considered unstable at a local hospital. Deputies located Victim 2 still sitting in the Nissan, a 19-year-old black female who was shot in the face. She’s also in critical condition and in stable condition at a local hospital.
These two victims had been sitting in the Nissan parked the driveway of a home on Sawfish Drive when an altercation ensued between the suspect, Derek “Ice” Bacote, DOB 8/29/89, and other victims. Bacote came to the home to confront Victim 3, who he had called earlier and requested to meet so they could “fight” regarding a girlfriend in common.
When Bacote arrived at the scene, he walked up to the house and was greeted in the driveway by Victim 1. When Victim 3 approached Bacote to greet him, Bacote punched him. As the altercation escalated, Bacote pointed a handgun at Victims 3 and 4, and shots were fired at Bacote by Victim 5 from the area of the garage.
Victim 4, who lives in the home, retreated inside to be with his children (ages 3, 4, 9, and 12 years old). For unknown reasons Bacote then turned towards the Nissan and fired multiple rounds into the car. Victim 1 drove away slowly, crashed into the mailbox of the house next door, crossed the street, then went through a fence across the street, and came to a stop in the yard (click here to see video of the shooting).
Deputies found Bacote deceased in the front yard of the Sawfish Drive home. Victims 3 and 5 fled the scene, while Victim 4 (the resident of the home) remained and cooperated with the investigation.
Victim 4 told deputies that he witnessed the altercation between Victim 3 and Bacote in the driveway, and that Bacote also pointed the gun at him. He did not see the shooting itself – he ran inside to protect his kids. He heard multiple rounds being fired after he retreated into the house.
The investigation is ongoing. Click here to hear Sheriff Judd's comments.
PREVIOUSLY RELEASED INFORMATION ABOUT THE HOME ON SAWFISH DRIVE WHICH APPEARS AT THIS TIME TO BE UNRELATED TO THE SHOOTING:
Deputies were called to investigate an incident that occurred on Sawfish Drive earlier in the week, on Sunday, February 19th, when the victim (who is referred to as Victim 4 above) who lives there, called to report a theft and battery. The victim told deputies that he and several acquaintances were hanging out in the garage when one of the acquaintances – Philip Vasquez, DOB 1/7/1991, of Haines City - began messing with the victim’s handgun, unlocking it and racking the slide. The victim asked Vasquez to leave, at which time Vasquez said he was not going to leave until they fought because of an alleged disputed relationship with a woman. Vasquez then battered the victim and left with the other acquaintances.
Prior to contacting PCSO, the victim looked around his home and discovered cash, a debit card, a television, and a shotgun missing. He reported the battery and the thefts, and an investigation ensued. Vasquez denied the allegations, but he did tell deputies that he and the victim were “having problems” due to an alleged relationship with a woman. While detectives were interviewing Vasquez he became increasingly angry and combative, making threats against law enforcement and telling them they were “going to have to kill him.” As Vasquez repeatedly attempted to go inside the house, deputies attempted to detain him, and he actively resisted.
Vasquez was taken into custody and charged with:
• Armed burglary with assault (FL)
• Resisting arrest (M1) (three counts)
• Threatening a public official (M1) (three counts)
Vasquez has a prior conviction for battery on a LEO in 2016. During a search of his residence, deputies located the victim’s stolen loaded shotgun. Deputies filed additional charges of:
• Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (F2)
• Possession of ammunition by a convicted felon (F2)
He remains in the Polk County Jail under no bond.