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Sunday, June 4, 2023

U-Haul employee threatened with a knife in Circle K parking lot

Howard Kyle Summerall
Howard Kyle Summerall

A Tavares man is accused pulling a knife on a U-Haul employee who was trying to recover an overdue truck and puncturing a tire on the employee’s pickup truck.

Howard Kyle Summerall, 33, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill and criminal mischief with damage between $200 and $1,000 after the incident, which happened Monday afternoon in the parking lot of the Circle K store at 10030 County Road 44 in Leesburg.

Deputies responded to the store after three separate reports were made, including one from a man who said he was with the U-Haul rental company and was trying to recover an overdue truck, according to an arrest report from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

Upon arrival, deputies spoke with Summerall, who was the front-seat passenger in the U-Haul truck. They also met with the female driver of the truck and the victim, who was employed by U-Haul to recover equipment that had not been returned by the due date, the report said.

During the investigation, deputies learned the original renter of the U-Haul truck was supposed to return it on May 14. The renter informed the company on or about May 17 that the female driver had taken the U-Haul and failed to return it, according to the report.

The victim had received word that the truck was in the area of CR 44 and CR 473 in Leesburg, and he spotted the truck in the parking lot of the Circle K. The victim then pulled his Ford truck next to the driver’s side of the U-Haul. The victim noticed that there was no one in the driver’s seat at the time. So, he opened the door, reached in and removed the keys from the ignition. Summerall was sitting in the right front passenger seat as he did so, according to the report.

The victim identified himself to Summerall and explained why he was taking the U-Haul. Summerall seemed OK with this at first, but a short time later became threatening and aggressive. The driver was inside the store when this occurred, the report said.

Summerall then got out of the U-Haul and walked around in a very aggressive manner while making threats to do bodily harm. The victim observed that Summerall had a double-edged silver knife with a blade about 6 inches long.  Summerall walked to the right side of the victim’s pickup truck and used the knife to stab the right front tire, causing it to go flat. He then came at the victim with the knife, saying that he had something for him, the report said.

The victim said that he was in fear for his life as this was occurring, the report said. He grabbed his cell phone and called law enforcement, telling Summerall what he was doing. This caused Summerall to turn away and go in a different direction.  When questioned, the driver admitted that she knew who originally rented the truck and that it was overdue. However, she couldn’t provide a reason as to why she did not return it, the report said.

Deputies then spoke with Summerall, who confirmed the victim’s version of events, except he denied having a knife. He admitted to having a BB gun, but he denied pulling it out during the incident. Store surveillance footage showed Summerall being aggressive towards the victim with something shiny in his hand. He was in close proximity to the victim and appeared to be doing forward thrusts towards his stomach area, according to the report.

The footage showed the victim trying to protect himself and avoid being stabbed. Summerall then walked back towards the front of the store before heading towards CR 44. As law enforcement arrived, Summerall went back to meet an officer at the gas pumps. The area was searched for the knife and the BB gun, but neither were located, the report said.

Based on the investigation, Summerall was arrested and transported to the Lake County Jail, where bond was set at $10,500.

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