The murder of a 46-year-old man driving on West Memorial Boulevard early Friday came just weeks after a parking-lot shootout between two groups at the Jade Fox Lounge last month that left 25-year-old rapper Raheem “350Heem” Bacon dead and 48-year-old Regina Orr critically injured.
Lakeland Police did not name the latest victim, but in an outpouring of social media condolences, family and friends identified him as Katoya “Toy” Wallace. He was an uncle-like figure to Bacon, known for his dapper style of dress and passion for customizing cars, and was present at the Jade Fox event.
Wallace’s murder, just a week after Bacon’s funeral, has left a large community — in which almost everyone knows each other and is connected socially or by blood — shocked, grieving and unsure who to trust.
In a pair of posts on Facebook, Wallace’s 23-year-old son, Tevin Booker, said, “My cousin [and] now my pops” with broken heart symbols, and “[I don’t] want people hugging me cause [I don’t] know who took my pops from me.”
Targeted drive-by shooting?
According to friends’ accounts, Wallace left a club shortly after it closed and was driving on West Memorial when someone opened fire on his white Kia sedan.
Lakeland Police said the incident was initially reported as a traffic crash around 2:30 a.m., when Wallace’s car hit a black Ford truck close to the intersection of West Memorial and Chestnut Road, near Kathleen High School. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded and found Wallace’s car abandoned in the center median with multiple bullet holes.
“Detectives learned that the 46-year-old male driver of the Kia, who sustained gunshot wounds, had been transported by a personal vehicle to Lakeland Regional Health prior to law enforcement arriving at the scene,” LPD spokeswoman Stephanie Kerr said in an emailed news release. “Despite the best efforts of emergency medical professionals, he was pronounced deceased a short time later.”
PCSO investigators interviewed the driver of the truck, who was not injured and remained at the scene. They determined that the shooting happened about half a mile away in the 2900 block of West Memorial, which is within the Lakeland city limits, and turned the homicide investigation over to LPD.
Defending their mothers
A new, more complicated narrative has emerged in the weeks since the ill-fated party at the Jade Fox Lounge on July 28 hosted by Bacon’s older brother, former NBA player Dwayne Bacon, in part to celebrate the release of Raheem’s latest album.
The violence drew in two extended families that are still grieving and seeking answers.
Orr’s daughter — Jamilah Johnson, 23, of Winter Haven — was arrested immediately after the shooting and charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. A day later, LPD added a charge of aggravated battery using a deadly weapon.
The lounge owner, Jian Zhang, told LkldNow that city ordinances require businesses that serve alcohol to close by 2 a.m., so the staff turned on the lights at 1:40 a.m. and started to encourage people to leave. He said around that time, a group tried to enter and a fight broke out in the parking lot when they were denied admission.
However, Johnson’s arrest affidavit suggests the dispute actually began much earlier and she may not have been the only one who fired a gun.
The court document says there was confrontation between Orr and Kennie Crawford, the mother of Raheem and Dwayne Bacon. The confrontation was “due to the defendant and victim Orr not paying to enter the Jade Fox lounge.” They apparently left and then returned with additional people and did pay to enter, even though the party was winding down. After the lights came on at 1:40 a.m. “Ms. Crawford advised that the defendant and Regina Orr confronted her again and Orr punched Ms. Crawford in the face.”
The report says the “large fight” started inside the lounge — with Raheem Bacon coming to his mother’s defense — and spilled out into the parking lot.
Two different caliber shell casings
LPD Officer Joshua Collins was at the scene and said he saw Johnson open fire.
“He advised that she started shooting into the crowd. He stated he exited his vehicle and gave chase and during the chase he observed the defendant throw a firearm towards the back of the vehicle. He stated once the defendant discarded the firearm, she stopped and surrendered without further incident,” the affidavit says.
Isaac Harris, 36, posted on Facebook that he and a member of the Bacon family drove Raheem to the hospital, where the young rapper was pronounced dead.
Orr was taken to Lakeland Regional Health by ambulance with critical injuries from a gunshot wound.
The following day, based on a photo showing Johnson holding onto Raheem and “placing the firearm to his back,” the charge of aggravated battery using a deadly weapon was added. However, the charging document does not suggest Johnson shot her own mother.
Two different types of shell casings were found at the scene — two .40 caliber casings, consistent with the stolen .40 caliber Glock model 27 that Johnson allegedly used, and two 9 mm casings.
LPD declined to say what caliber bullets hit Bacon and Orr, saying they are “open investigations.”
‘Standing on business’
Johnson remains in the Polk County jail in lieu of $100,000 bond. Her next court date is Aug. 29. If bond were posted, her terms of release would include being on house arrest with a GPS monitor and not having any contact with the victims.
Several days after the arrest, her lawyer at the time, Jeff Holmes, told The Ledger that videos turned over to police would show Johnson was defending Orr. “My client didn’t shoot her own mother, but we think we know who shot her mother.”
After being declared indigent by the court, Johnson is now represented by Assistant Public Defender Blair Allen, who is running for Public Defender.
Police are investigating whether Wallace may have been targeted as a result of events at the party. Other possibilities include that he owed someone money or was set up by a woman, according to an individual who is familiar with the circumstances.
The night of the party and at the time of his murder, Wallace was in violation of a curfew that was a condition of his release while awaiting trial on weapon- and drug-related charges. He was arrested in February 2021. His trial was scheduled to begin the week of Sept. 6.
Among the terms of his pretrial release on $63,000 bail, he was supposed to have a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. He was also ordered to submit to random urine tests, not to engage in any criminal activity, not use illegal drugs, not possess firearms and not leave Florida.
Shared grief, unanswered questions
Many people who were still reeling from Bacon’s death were dealt another blow with the loss of Wallace. Club owners and promoters also worried that the deaths would unfairly damage their businesses.
Crawford’s first cousin, Elecia Crawford, who was like an aunt to Bacon, said she has been trying to avoid all the speculation on social media.
“I haven’t dived into it because, to me, it’s not going to bring them back. Life will never be the same,” Elecia Crawford said. “None of the videos you go back and look at will make it make sense. … The noise will literally choke you.”
“At the end of the day, what this comes down to is: You’ve got this mom laying up here in the hospital, fighting for her life. You’ve got my nephew that’s gone. All over entry to a club. That’s the only thing you can tie it back to. And if that is not the most insane thing to lose your life over …” she said.
“This is the society we’ve gotten to. We’ve gotten to a point where I am so infuriated with you over mere words, over a mere misunderstanding, that I want to come back for trouble. I want to threaten your life and then I want to take your life or I want to hurt somebody.”
LPD is investigating the homicide. Anyone who may have information is encouraged to contact Detective Troy Smith at email@example.com.
Persons who wish to remain anonymous can contact Heartland Crime Stoppers:
- Call 1-800-226 TIPS (8477)
- From a cell phone, dial **TIPS
- Visit the website www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com and click on “Submit A Tip,”
- Or download the free “P3tips” app on a smartphone or tablet
Tipsters will always remain anonymous when they send a tip through Crime Stoppers, and they are eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest.
NOTE: This story has been updated to focus on the impact the recent homicide has had on an already-grieving community. It also clarified that Katoya Wallace was “like” an uncle to Raheem Bacon — who was extremely close with Wallace’s son, Tevin Booker, and lived with Booker for a while in Tallahassee. Bacon and Wallace were not related by DNA.
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