Lakeland: Dispute over alleged theft of horse the motive of the murder of Henry Fernandez-Soto

Polk County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) report the investigation of a murder that appears to have started over an ongoing dispute regarding an alleged theft of a horse.

Celso Omar Sanchez Acosta

24-year-old Henry Fernandez-Soto of Lakeland was shot Wednesday evening, January 8, 2020, at 1735 Oakland Road East in Lakeland. 

The PCSO Emergency Communications Center (ECC) received a 911 call with a report of a person being shot.

When deputies arrived on scene, they found Fernandez-Soto behind a residence with a gunshot wound to his chest. Fernandez-Soto was transported to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center. He died early the next morning.

Deputies are currently trying to find the shooter, who has been identified as 29-year-old Celso Omar Sanchez Acosta, aka, “Coqui.

A warrant for 1st Degree Murder has been obtained for Sanchez Acosta, and deputies continue to search him. He may be driving a white 1999 Ford F250 (FL Tag: LBFN70).

According to Fernandez-Soto’s girlfriend, the couple drove to the residence to pick up some horse-riding equipment from Sanchez Acosta. The men were meeting at the location, but neither man resides there. 

The woman told detectives that while she waited in the car, she heard gunshots and watched as Sanchez Acosta was running after Fernandez-Soto and pointing a gun at him. 

She went on to tell the detectives that the two men had an ongoing dispute regarding an alleged theft of a horse. She said that Fernandez-Soto told her recently that Sanchez Acosta had verbally threatened him and mentioned a rifle. 

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