Lakeland sees fatal shooting, Arlington trespasser faces gun

Two separate violent crimes – a fatal shooting and a threatening trespassing incident – disturbed the peace in Lakeland and the Arlington area this past week.

Freddie Mills, 37, died in a Friday night shooting on Jan. 25. His body was found after 11 p.m. in a church driveway after 11 p.m. The scene was on the 9400 block of Memphis Arlington Road in Lakeland.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is asking for anyone with information about this incident to call CrimeStoppers Memphis at (901) 528-CASH.

In Arlington, James D. Coker, 69, landed in jail on Jan. 23 after threatening a woman who was trying to retrieve her dog from the woods.

The woman, Erin Trout, released her dog on Brunswick Road, and chased after him when he dashed into the woods. She accidentally ended up in Coker’s yard.

She said he confronted her about trespassing onto his unfenced yard and asked if she didn’t see the sign on the chain blocking his driveway. She apologized and said she had not. He claimed he could shoot her for the offense.

She walked off his property onto Phillips Road and continued looking for her pet. Trout said Coker approached her again in his silver Ford truck, repeated his threat and brandished a small black handgun, later found to be a Luger .380 semi-automatic pistol.

She was scared and retreated. Her husband called 911, and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded. They observed the front “No trespassing” sign on Coker’s property, but there was no signage in the rear of the property.

As deputies approached Coker’s house, the lights went out, the side door opened, and a German shepherd dog exited the home and began barking at deputies. Deputies backed off, and the suspect came out several minutes later. According to the SCSO’s affidavit, Coker admitted to showing Trout the gun and threatening to shoot her if she trespassed again.

Deputies advised him he couldn’t legally shoot someone for merely trespassing. They took possession of his pistol as evidence, charged him with aggravated assault and took him to the Shelby County Jail without incident.

The woman did eventually retrieve her dog.

Coker posted a $10,000 bond on Jan. 24 and was arraigned the next day.