The story itself is a sad one, however the quote from our local Sheriff makes it worth reading....
LAKELAND | Lightning struck a festive church event Saturday, killing one and possibly injuring 18 others, the Sheriff's Office said.
About 100 members of the church were gathered at 4444 Viola Road about 4:40 p.m. when lightning struck near the soccer field in the midst of a game.
Benjamin Gonzalez, 30, of Lakeland collapsed on the ground. Many ran to his aid, while others ran for cover. He soon died.
In total, authorities say they transported 19 people to area hospitals and treated 28 people total at the scene. The severity of the injuries is unknown,
Most of the people who attended the event were members of Lakeland's Iglesia Bautista Maranata Baptist Church, which owns the property.
"It's a tragedy that a group of Christian people met here on the Fourth of July to celebrate and then an act of God occurred," Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said as deputies interviewed witnesses.
Authorities say witnesses recalled a slight drizzle before the lightning struck. Some said they felt a shock.
On Saturday evening, the soccer ball, sneakers and various articles of clothing remained on the field.
Emergency workers had peeled off some of Gonzalez's clothes and used a defibrillator before they took him to the hospital.
"My boy was playing goalie. He was scared and crying like a baby," said Miguel Moyeda, who watched the game.
About 22 players were on the field. Moyeda sat on the sidelines, often retreating to the wooden pole barn when it rained at times during the day.
"I heard the thunder and a crack on the roof and turned around and saw clouds," he said.
"When I turned my head back to the field, I saw the guy lying on the ground."
About 6:30 p.m., after deputies had finished interviewing witnesses, many of the churchgoers began to leave.
Authorities said the experience was emotional for many.
"It wasn't even raining back there. I didn't really think it was gonna hit lightning right here," Moyeda said.