4 Days of Deadly Violence, Drive-by, Home Invasion, Officer Involved, Murder-Suicide, Mass Shooting
REGIONAL – As news of 17 murdered high school students in a South Florida community spread across the nation, a rash of shootings closer to home claimed the lives of four people in the hours and days following the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
While families in Parkland, Florida were just beginning to grieve over the loss of their loved ones, a 14-year-old boy in Pasco County was gravely injured during a drive-by shooting at a residence on Ridge Crest Drive in Port Richey.
Pasco County Officials say a at approximately 5:55 p.m., an unknown suspect fired multiple rounds into the victim’s vehicle at 6353 Ridge Crest Drive, striking the victim.
The suspect is described as a white male, wearing a blue hat and dark clothing, with a pierced eyebrow and no facial hair. The suspect’s vehicle, pictured below, is described as an older model black Mazda 4DR with no hubcaps and black rims.
Sadly, the young victim succumbed to his injuries last night and died in the arms of his mother at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact the Pasco Sheriff’s Office.
Four shootings in Citrus County over the last three days left three people dead – two of an apparent murder-suicide – one during an officer involved shooting. The condition of two other individuals shot in Citrus County is unknown at this time.
During the early morning hours on Thursday, a Citrus County Deputy was forced to shoot 21-year-old William Bryant, after Bryant struck a patrol car and attempted to run over the deputy during a traffic stop.
Officials say Bryant led deputies on a pursuit through Homosassa until he crashed in the area of Stone Gate Court. Bryant was airlifted to bayonet Point Hospital, where he was treated for non-life-threating injuries.
On Friday, a home invasion suspect was shot by the homeowner, after he broke into a residence on W. Berrigan Court in Homosassa.
Citrus County Officials have not commented on the case but according to the homeowner, “Carl,” a male suspect broke into the residence just before midnight on Friday and refused to leave after several verbal commands. Carl says the suspect lunged at him, forcing him to fire one shot into the suspect’s stomach.
Carl tells RNRF that he had no choice but to shoot. “I was the last line of defense between the suspect and my wife who was standing right behind me,” says Carl.
The suspect’s identity and condition is unknown at this time.
No charges are expected to be filed.
Citrus County Officials are reporting a murder-suicide that occurred just before 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, leaving the victim, Erin Cain Prost, 42, and the suspect, Bruce Leonard, 31, dead from gunshot wounds. Prost and Leonard were found in the bedroom of a Homosassa residence.
No further details have been released by officials.
A second deputy-involved shooting occurred around 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, leaving the suspect, 28-year-old Ryan Batchelder dead, after a terrifying rush-hour incident in the area of U.S. 41 and FL 200.
Officials say Batchelder threatened to shoot someone at the Xtreme Games 3 store and was later observed speeding down U.S. 41. towards the store. During the ensuing pursuit, Batchelder pointed a firearm at deputies, and after running a red light at the 41 and 200 Apex, Batchelder rammed his pickup truck into the side of a sheriff’s patrol car, injuring the deputy.
Terrified witnesses say a barrage of bullets hailed down on the suspect’s vehicle, bringing an end to Batchelder’s violent rampage.
Sheriff Mike Prendergast says, “This is a very tragic turn of events, where a man lost his life. We are very thankful that our officers were not seriously injured and that the many citizens who were very close to this extremely dangerous situation did not suffer catastrophic injuries.”
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