4, including woman claiming self-defense, arrested in connection with Winter Haven teen's death: PCSO

Four suspects with criminal histories have been arrested in connection with the shooting death of a teenage gang member in Winter Haven

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the body of 15-year-old Quashawn Burgess, Jr., was discovered deceased around 2:30 a.m. on September 12, in a Winter Haven driveway by a woman who was on her way to spend the night at a friend’s house after work.  

Deputies who canvassed the neighborhood say witnesses reported hearing a noise that sounded like a "pop" around 12:30 a.m. but thought it was fireworks.

When deputies notified Burgess’ mother of his death, she told them that she was unaware that he was not home sleeping during the evening hours. She said she saw him on her living room couch at 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 11 when she went to bed. 

When detectives arrived at her house, she went to his bedroom and confirmed he was not there and told them that she did not know when he had left or where he had gone.

According to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, a series of events that led up to Burgess' death began when Lilia Gonzalez, who is a convicted felon, contacted Jase Govia, 23, because she wanted to buy a gun. Since she is a convicted felon, she is not legally allowed to purchase a firearm. Govia lives across the street from Gonzalez in what, Sheriff Judd calls a "weed house" he runs with his cousin 34-year-old Pierre Sauveur. 

Govia, according to Sheriff Judd, put Gonzalez in touch with 20-year-old Rashan Harris. 

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"He’s 20 years of age and he’s already got 53 felony charges against him, 25 misdemeanor charges against him and he’s been to jail," Sheriff Judd shared. "He got one year in jail. So, we take him out of the ability to commit crime for one year and he still has 53 felonies."

According to PCSO, Gonzalez and Harris met at a Circle K and he sold her a gun for $200 that had been stolen during a Lakeland burglary in which Harris was a suspect. 

Later that evening, investigators say Harris called Gonzalez and told her he wanted to sell her more bullets. Though detectives say Gonzalez thought it was a strange request, she gave him her address. 

Along the way, Harris picked up Burgess, who Sheriff Judd says wanted to buy marijuana from the "weed house" across the street. 


Photo of 15-year-old Quashawn Burgess. Courtesy: Polk County Sheriff's Office. 

"None of these people work. The 15-year-old is not in school. Every one of them lied about everything," Sheriff Judd said.

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According to Sheriff Judd, Burgess got out of the car and Gonzalez eventually got in the passenger side. Sheriff Judd says Harris and Gonzalez talked about bullets and sex while inside the car. 

However, Sheriff Judd shared that while Gonzalez was talking to Harris, she felt like things didn’t seem right. Moments later, detectives say Burgess opened the passenger side door to rob Gonzalez at gunpoint. 


Crime scene tape outside of a homicide scene where a 15-year-old was found dead in Winter Haven. 

According to PCSO, Gonzalez was holding onto her purse, which was strapped across her side body as Burgess is trying to pull her pocketbook off her. 

"Apparently, they forgot they sold her this gun," Sheriff Judd stated." So, now Lillia pulls the gun out of her pocketbook because she’s being robbed at gunpoint and shoots Quashawn who’s robbing her. Did you hear what I said? You can’t make this stuff up."

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Sheriff Judd said after the shooting, Gonzalez ran into her home and Harris took off, leaving Burgess to die on the driveway. 

Sheriff Judd added that Gonzalez fled the area for three days and was taken into custody when she returned. 


Lilia Gonzalez mugshot courtesy of the Polk County Sheriff's Office. 

Gonzalez told deputies that she was being robbed and was defending herself when she shot and killed Burgess. 

"At this point in the investigation, she is apparently the victim of a robbery whereby she defended herself and shot the suspect, Quashawn and Rashon confirms that," Sheriff Judd stated. 

However, deputies arrested Gonzalez on several charges including possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, dealing in stolen property, tampering with evidence, grand theft of a firearm, possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, maintaining residence where controlled substances are illegally kept, possession of paraphernalia.

"When you live by the gun, you die by the gun," Sheriff Judd stated. 


Rashan Harris mugshot courtesy of the Polk County Sheriff's Office. 

Harris has been charged with second degree murder, attempted armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, dealing in stolen property, grand theft of a firearm, tampering with evidence, unlawful use of a two-way communication device, giving false info to a law enforcement officer during a capital felony investigation, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and violation of probation.

Govia has been charged with maintaining residence where controlled substances are illegally kept, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of marijuana over 20 grams, possession of paraphernalia.


Jase Govia mugshot courtesy of the Polk County Sheriff's Office. 

Sauveur has been arrested for maintaining residence where controlled substances are illegally kept, giving false info to a law enforcement officer during a capital felony investigation, possession of marijuana over 20 grams, and possession of paraphernalia.


Pierre Sauveur mugshot courtesy of the Polk County Sheriff's Office. 

"These folks have been in prison," Sheriff Judd explained. "They’ve been in the jail. They all have criminal histories. At the end of the day, we’ve got a 15-year-old kid that’s dead and mom said I’ve got a 15-year-old kid I can’t do anything with him."  

Deputies are still investigating the homicide.