Local News

Nephew charged in double shooting that killed uncle, authorities said

— Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies Monday arrested on a charge of second-degree murder the nephew of a Sebring resident, who authorities say shot his uncle, who told dispatchers he had shot his nephew, as well, June 15.

The 65-year-old uncle reportedly called Central Dispatch to tell them he had shot his nephew, and the dispatcher heard gunshot noises in the background, the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office said.

Phillip “Justin” Markland was arrested after he was released from Lakeland Regional Medical Center, where he had been airlifted in critical condition after the shooting.

He will be booked into the Polk County Jail with no bail set and will be transferred to the Highlands County Jail, authorities added Monday.

When deputies and emergency workers responded to the Sebring home, 122 Hill Court, they found the uncle, Thomas Markland, lying on the floor of the home with apparent gunshot wounds.

He had no vital signs and EMS personnel pronounced him dead at the scene, Sheriff Susan Benton said in a news release at that time.

Sheriff’s office detectives were working the case as a homicide, Benton said then. “At this time it appears that Thomas Markland shot Phillip and Phillip shot Thomas; and no other parties were involved in this incident,” she said then. It’s unclear if that is still the case.

Phillip Markland, same address, was found in the front yard, bleeding heavily from an apparent gunshot wound, Benton added.

Thomas Markland had called dispatchers at about 11:16 p.m. June 15, reportedly to tell them he had shot his nephew, authorities said.

Anyone with information should contact detective Kim Gunn at 863-381-2050. Anyone with information who wants to remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS(8477) or go to www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com