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New City Commissioner Arrested, Accused of Using Handgun to Threaten Child

Newly elected Lake Wales City Commissioner Kris Fitzgerald was arrested Thursday, June 3 on two felony charges for allegedly taking an 11-year-old boy from his home without permission and threatening him with a loaded handgun.

According to the affidavit by the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Fitzgerald picked the boy up at his home in Lake Wales the evening of June 2 and drove him about 10 miles out SR 60 to Struthers Honey, where she confronted him for allegedly sexually touching her 13-year-old daughter in 2020. The boy denies the accusation.

According to the sheriff's report, the boy claimed that on the ride home Fitzgerald pulled a purple handgun from under her seat, held it in her lap and threatened to "bury him alive."

The sheriff's report says Fitzgerald admitted to taking the boy from his home without permission and confronting him about the alleged improper touching of her daughter. She reportedly said the gun slid out from under her seat and she did not point the gun at the boy. Fitzgerald allowed deputies to take possession of the Taurus G2C, which they found in a brown bag on the driver's floorboard of her Infiniti. The 9mm handgun was loaded, but there was no round in the chamber.

The boy's uncle, who is the father of Fitzgerald's daughter, reportedly told sheriff's officers that in a phone conversation Fitzgerald admitted she picked up the gun and showed it to the boy, but said she did not point it at him. He quoted Fitzgerald as saying "I did say I would bury him, but I didn't say alive."

Fitzgerald was charged with interfering with child custody and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill and was being held in the Polk County Jail.

A licensed mental health counselor, Fitzgerald, 41, defeated incumbent City Commissioner Al Goldstein by 32 votes in the April 6 city election and she took office on May 4. Goldstein said if Fitzgerald is suspended by the governor he would like to be considered to fill the temporary vacancy.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd in a press briefing June 4, criticized Fitzgerald, saying city officials should be positive examples and held to higher standards than others, noting "It should give everybody pause that she's making decisions for the City of Lake Wales when she's that irrational."

"Can you believe in 2021 that the lights haven't come on for her yet that you can't threaten an 11-year-old with a handgun. She literally petrified him, scared him," Judd said. "His family is livid beyond all expectations as you would be if someone threatened your child, to bury them while holding a firearm."


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