Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd identified the friends as Damion Tillman, 23; Keven Springfield, 30; and Brandon Rollins, 27. They were from Frostproof, a small city southeast of Tampa.
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No suspects or motive have been identified in Friday night’s triple homicide, but Judd said investigators believe more than one perpetrator was involved.
Judd said the group had planned to go catfishing at Lake Streety, a fishing lake that Judd said is “about as far out in the middle of the woods as you can get.”
Tillman, who arrived at the lake first, was being killed when Springfield and Rollins showed up in a second truck.
“They were shot up and ultimately murdered,” Judd said.
Before he died, Judd said, Rollins called his father, who was at home in bed and rushed to the lake. The father spoke to Rollins before he died. Judd declined to say what Rollins told him.
Judd said it wasn’t clear whether the friends knew their assailants, but he added: “You don’t just stumble upon someone out here. This is a dirt road. A clay dirt road, way out in the middle of what we call God’s country.”
Tim Stelloh is a reporter for NBC News, based in California.
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