Shaun Runyon is a Pennsylvania man accused of killing three co-workers in Florida with a baseball bat and knife during a rampage while working as an electrician in Polk County. Authorities said Runyon got into a dispute with his supervisor on Friday, October 1, 2021, and then attacked four men he was living and working with at their shared home in Davenport on Saturday, killing three and injuring one, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a press conference.
“This was a cold-blooded, calculated, violent murdering beast,” Judd said about Runyon. “He planned in great detail how he was going to murder these three folks.” The 39-year-old Runyon is from Nazareth, Pennsylvania, according to court records. He was working for a Pennsylvania-based company that is building a new Publix grocery store in Florida, according to Judd.
Runyon has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, according to Polk County court records. One person was killed as he slept, the sheriff said. There were seven people in the home at the time, according to Judd. He called it a “horrible and tragic event.”
“He stabbed and beat people inside the residence,” Judd said at a press conference, adding that Runyon confessed to the killings. “He knew all of these victims We have no idea what outraged him so bad that more than 24 hours later that he would come back and make an attempt to kill every one of them.” The sheriff’s office said Runyon had been arrested on domestic violence charges in May 2021 and was free on bail.
The victims have been identified as Kevin Lanusse, 41, of Pennsylvania; Dewlon Donell, 46, of Maryland; and Gregory Dolezal, 44, of Ohio, the sheriff’s office said in a press release. They were all working for the Pennsylvania electrical company. Judd said, “The three victims were electricians. They were wonderful family people. Just solid, solid folks.”
Judd said, “He was in a rampage. Three or more people are considered a mass murder. He had a pre-designed plan to viciously murder these folks. He had plenty of time to change his mind. Instead he spent all of that time preparing his plan.”
Here’s what you need to know about Shaun Runyon:
1. Shaun Runyon Punched His Boss During the Dispute at the Job Site on Friday Before Returning to the Home Where the Workers Were Staying the Next Morning, Carrying Out the Deadly Attacks, the Sheriff Says
“On Friday morning, at about 2 a.m., Shaun Runyon got mad as the result of a problem with his supervisor and he punched his supervisor and fled from the workplace. He left and he had not been seen since then,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at an October 2 press conference near the scene of the triple homicide in Davenport, Florida. “Shaun and other team members on this electrical job were living in this community close by.”
Judd added, “At 9:45 this morning we received a 911 call about a murder. He’s murdered someone. And what we found out was Shaun returned to the neighborhood, went into the house with a baseball bat and a knife and he stabbed and beat people inside the residence. … One victim was beaten to death in his bed while he slept.”
Judd said one of the victims survived the attack and was taken to a local hospital where he later died. Another victim, Dolezal, was found dead on the front porch of the home after he tried to escape from Runyon and was stabbed, police said. Judd said a fourth victim was chased into the street by Runyon and struck in the shoulder and back with the baseball bat. “Another man and his wife and his 7-year-old little girl were able to escape the residence without harm,” Judd said. “And then Shaun fled from the scene.”
According to Judd, one of the slain victims, Lanusse, was the supervisor who Runyon punched at the workplace on Friday. “The entire scene is horrific. The victim that was hit in the back and shoulder with the baseball bat is alright. But our suspect, Runyon, chased him into the street to hit him out in the street.”
The sheriff’s office said in a press release, “The co-workers assumed Runyon was going home to Pennsylvania,” after he left their job site in Lakeland on Friday following the altercation with Lanusse. According to Judd, Runyon had been confronted about not working fast enough.
“Runyon told the detectives that on Friday he drove to Georgia, where he bought a crossbow and devised a plan to return to Florida and kill his three coworkers. He drove to Tampa, left his work vehicle at the Tampa International Airport, and rented a Nissan Versa from Enterprise. He told detectives that he purchased a baseball bat in Tampa, which he decided to use instead of the crossbow,” the sheriff’s office said.
Judd said Runyon went back to the home with a mission to kill the three victims. He went to his supervisor’s bedroom first while Lanusse was sleeping. “Kevin never knew what hit him,” Judd said. Runyon told police, “I went to town on his face with the baseball bat,” Judd said. He told investigators his supervisor never woke up. “Kevin was hit so hard and so many times that thank God he wasn’t aware of what was occurring to him,” Judd said.
Runyon told police that after he thought he had killed Lanusse, he moved on to the upstairs bedroom where Donell was sleeping. Judd said Runyon told them, “I beat Dew in the head until I was confident that he was done.” Runyon told investigators he then went into the third bedroom, where Dolezal was sleeping, and when he closed the door, Dolezal woke up and “fought with him,” Judd said. Runyon told investigators he stabbed Dolezal after he fought off the bat. Dolezal fled to the porch, where he “collapsed and died,” Judd said.
“Instead of having time to calm down from his rage when the supervisor chastized him, he only got worse over the next 24 hours to when he actually executed his homicidal plan about 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning,” Judd said.
2. He Was Caught at a Local Hospital After the Bloody-Clothes-Clad Runyon Went to a Home in Lake Wells & Told the Residents He Had Been Raped, the Sheriff Says
Judd said, “We had a manhunt, an intensive manhunt with dozens and dozens of deputies, our K-9, our aviation, our drone teams, because we saw where he fled from the area through a blood trail and then the trail went dead and we couldn’t find him.” He said about an hour and a half or two hours later, Runyon showed up at a house in Lake Wells, Florida, “with blood on himself” and, “tells the people I’ve been raped.”
Judd said Runyon took off the bloody clothes at the Lake Wells residence and the people who live there told him he needs to go to the hospital. Deputies from Polk County and local police rushed to the hospital and took Runyon into custody at the hospital about 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Judd said.
The sheriff initially said it was not clear why Runyon went to the home. “He showed up at a random house on a quiet street in Lake Wales, bloody, telling the people he was raped. He took those clothes off, threw them down, they told him, ‘Well you need to go to the hospital.’ And that’s what he did. And that’s where we found him.”
But at a later press conference, Judd said it turned out the man who lived at the Lake Wales home worked for Publix and they had met while Runyon was working at the job site. Judd said the Publix employee had asked Runyon to do some tile work for him and that’s why he knew where he lived. The Publix employee called 911 to report what happened after Runyon left to go the hospital, Judd said.
Judd said about Runyon, “He has confessed to our detectives. The investigation is underway. .. The murderer, the horrible murderer, is in custody and the community is once again safe. It’s pretty straightforward. There was never a question about who the suspect was. The question we had to deal with was ‘where did he flee to?'”
3. Runyon Was Arrested in May 2021 on Charges of Strangulation, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Making Terroristic Threats, Assault & Harassment in Pennsylvania & He Had Previous Arrests on Theft, Receiving Stolen Property & DUI Charges in His Home State
Judd said about Runyon, “He does have a criminal history. And the last time he was arrested it was a violent arrest dealing with strangulation in Pennsylvania.” Court records show he was free on bond while that case in his home state is pending.
According to court records from the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania, Runyon was arrested there on May 21, 2021, on charges of strangulation, endangering the welfare of a child, making terroristic threats, two counts of endangering another person, assault, possession of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia and harassment. He was released after posting $75,000 bond and had his court date set for October 14, 2021, records show.
The sheriff’s office said, “He has prior arrests for theft by unlawful taking, theft of lost property, receiving stolen property, DUI, and careless driving.”
According to the Lehigh Valley Morning Call, police responded to Runyon’s Pennsylvania home for a report of a domestic incident. A woman told police she went to Runyon’s home to talk to him and they began arguing about their relationship, the newspaper reports. The newspaper wrote:
During the argument, Runyon grabbed the woman’s left arm, dragging her up the stairs to the second floor then shoved her, causing her to fall down the flight of stairs, according to the affidavit. The woman told police Runyon choked her at the bottom of the stairs, causing her to gasp for air. When he let go, the woman ran for her daughter, going into an upstairs bedroom.
‘I’m going to kill you,’ Runyon allegedly told her twice as he pointed a rifle toward her head before saying, ‘I’m going to kill myself,’ putting the barrel in his mouth.
When she tried to leave, Runyon threw her into a closet and jumped on top of her, choking her until she was unconscious.
Northampton County District Attorney Terry Houck told The Morning Call, “We were ready to go to trial. Then obviously this all happened. And you know, it’s just a damn shame. It’s a damn shame because we had him and he got out. … It’s just a tragedy because we had him and he got out and that’s not good.”
Judd said, “Obviously you had an anger management problem. We saw violent acts against his family, people that were very special to him back in May, or allegedly special to him. And we see that he not only fought with and hit his supervisor on the job, but then when the boss, who by the way is his half brother says come home, he makes it to Cordele (Georgia), when he goes, ‘Huh, they’re having a sale here at the outfitters, that’s where I’ll get my crossbow to go back and murder them.’ He planned to murder them the entire time after he left.”
4. Runyon Worked for JNB Electric & Lighting & Records Show the Company’s Owner Bailed Him Out After His Arrest on Domestic Violence Charges in Pennsylvania
Runyon worked for JNB Electric & Lighting, which is based in Effort, Pennsylvania. Judd said detectives contacted the company’s owner, who is in Pennsylvania, and he cooperated with the investigation. His LinkedIn profile shows he previously worked as an electrical foreman for P.J. Smith Electric in New Jersey, but the company’s owner told The Morning Call he worked there about five years ago.
Judd said the Pennsylvania electric company, “was here in this county because they were doing work for Publix Corporation. Publix supermarkets.” The co-workers and some of their family members were living in the multi-bedroom home that was being rented by the company while they were working on the Publix project in Lakeland, Judd said.
The sheriff said at the October 2 press conference, “It was the understanding of the boss in Pennsylvania that he was going back to Pennsylvania yesterday. So the boss was surprised to find out that he was not only here, but he was here murdering his co-workers this morning.” The owner of the company is Runyon’s half brother, Judd said.
According to The Morning Call, court records show the owner of JNB Electric posted the $75,000 bail on May 28 through a surety, which is when a person takes responsibility for a defendant to show up in court. The newspaper reports the owner, who lives in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, could not be reached for comment and Heavy was also unable to reach him or a company representative. The company has not issued a statement about the triple homicide.
5. Runyon Is Being Held Without Bail in the Polk County South Jail’s Medical Unit
Runyon is being held without bail in the Polk County jail, according to court records. Jail records show he is being held at the South Jail’s medical unit. According to Judd, Runyon confessed to investigators multiple times after he was taken into custody.
“He told us he was ‘raped,’ that those ‘three guys did a train on him,'” Judd said. “And he hated all three of them. We gave him sexual battery tests and I want to underscore that there is absolutely, unequivocally zero evidence to confirm what our just outrageous, violent, beast of a human being” said. Judd called it a “fictitious rape story” at the press conference.
“What we saw was three electricians, three family men, three folks that were here working and doing a really good job so that they could support their family and their children,” Judd said. “What we saw here was three victims, three men, three electricians, with children, at least two of the three had children. Dew had a little girl as young as 4 years of age. We also know that Kevin had children as well. And they’re gone. They don’t get to see their children grow up. Dew will never get a chance to see his daughter walk down the aisle when she gets married or see his grandchildren. The little 4-year-old girl will have to grow up without a dad. These were good people who traveled across the country to do work and they were met by this evil, evil person.”
It was not immediately known if Runyon has hired an attorney who could speak on his behalf and he could not be reached for comment by Heavy. Runyon made his first court appearance on October 3 and he is scheduled to appear in court next for an arraignment hearing on November 9, 2021, records show.
“At the end of the day, the case is solved, he’s in jail, I understand people have a right to bail, but it does occur to me that if he was still locked up for his May arrest in Pennsylvania, we would have these fathers, these good men, alive and working and with their family today,” Judd said.
He said, “At the end of the day, this is bizarre. And my heart goes out to the victims. You know, murdering someone is never, ever acceptable. But when you viciously attack three people who were in bed sleeping with a baseball bat and there is home video and we can see the obvious bend of the bat where he hit them that hard. At least two of the three victims never knew they were hit that hard initially in the repetition that many times. But our third victim fought. He fought for his life. And when he couldn’t get the best of our third victim with a baseball bat he pulled out a knife and stabbed him and cut him to death.”
Judd added, “It not only makes me angry, it makes this community angry. And it makes us angry on all fronts. Not just the cold, calculated murder, but leaving those children and those families without their loved one who simply was halfway across the country away from their family working to make a living for them. … He knew they would be vulnerable. He knew they would be asleep. He knew he could take out this vicious attack without opposition because they would be sleeping. And that’s what he did.”