On Thursday, Gainsville police said that two masked men unleashed a spray of bullets into a home where a family was having a large gathering, killing a father who was holding his baby girl at the time he was shot. The 11-month-old baby was also struck by a bullet, along with another man, but is fortunately now on her way to recovery.
There were more than 20 persons inside the home at Northwest 4th Place in Gainesville when the two masked gunmen approached and started firing shots from the front doorway into the home. The shooting occurred at about 11:39 p.m. on Wednesday night, with the only fatality being the 35-year-old father who had been holding his baby daughter at the time. Police said in a news release that one of the bullets that killed the man struck the baby girl in the arm. A 21-year-old male was shot in the arm as well.
The two who were only wounded by the bullets were taken to a local hospital to be treated for non-life threatening injuries.
The officers who responded to the shooting say that the scene had turned into “mass chaos” pretty quickly. Gainesville police spokesman Ben Tobias said that the police officers started arriving at the home less than a minute after receiving the 911 call and found many persons pouring out of the house and running down the street. Investigators said that the shooters ran from the home before the police arrived, with one person from inside the home trying unsuccessfully to chase them.
The police department conducted a search of the area with multiple officers, helicopters, and K-9 units, but unfortunately, their efforts yielded nothing.
According to the Palm Beach Post, the father, Antonio Mason, died at the scene due to multiple gunshot wounds to the chest. Tobias said that the officers had put tourniquets on the arms of the baby girl as well as the other victim in an effort to help stabilize them before the paramedics arrived to take them to a hospital for treatment.
The investigators firmly believe that the masked men responsible for the shooting are no longer in the area, but they have nonetheless increased patrols in the neighborhood while they continue their investigations. Residents were advised by the authorities to take safety precautions and stay in their homes as the Gainesville police search the area.
Tobias also stated that the neighborhood itself has a history of criminal activity but that a crime of this nature has not occurred there in quite a while.
The shell casings discovered at the scene are said to be from at least two different guns.
The spokesman revealed in his statement to the press that thus far there has been no indication of a motive for the shooting that injured a baby and killed her father. Antonio Mason did not live at the house where he was killed.
“I can’t imagine what kind of person would look at a person holding a child and be able to make the barbaric decision to pull the trigger. I just can’t fathom that.”
According to the Miami Herald the incident is actually the second shooting in Gainesville this week. The shooting involving the masked men occurred across the city from the University of Florida. In the early mornings on Monday, one of the college’s student, Angelo Ray Canevari banged on a woman’s door and confessed that he had shot someone. Investigating police from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office found 57-year-old Lannie E. Geer dead on his kitchen floor in a pool of blood. A gun and ammunition were also found in the house. That shooting took place approximately 10 miles from the University of Florida campus.
Residents in the Gainesville area have stated that they fear for their lives following the shooting that killed Mason, arguing, “If they shot an infant, they have no heart and don’t care.”
If anyone has information regarding the shooting, they are being asked to contact GPD’s Detective Bureau at 352-393-7670 or call CrimeStoppers at 352-372-STOP. Tips can also be submitted anonymously by texting keyword GPDFL along with the information to 274637.
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