Man Faces Attempted Murder Charges After Shooting Two People and Setting Mobile Home on Fire
LECANTO (CITRUS) – Last night RNRF reported a double shooting and structure fire in the area of Gilbert Terrace. Officials now say a suspect is behind bars – charged with attempted murder.
According to Officials, Sheriff’s Deputies to 7089 Gilbert Terrace around 4:00 p.m. after receiving reports that two people had been shot and another was struck with a shovel. All three victims attempted to drive themselves to a local hospital but deputies caught up with them and call for EMS.
61-year-old Melinda Ward told deputies that an unknown man came to her home and hit her in the arm and the face with a shovel. Ward says the suspect then shot her two sons, Jeremiah Ward, 33, and Joseph Ward, 37. Jeremiah suffered two gunshot wounds to the head and Joseph had been shot in the arm. Ward further stated that the suspect was dousing her home with gasoline before leaving to seek medical attention.
Minutes later, Fire Rescue received reports of a mobile home fire at the same location and upon arrival, they discovered the home to be fully engulfed in flames.
Through their investigation, Detectives discovered that 59-year-old William Gonsisko of 7224 S. Gilbert Terrace was their prime suspect. After interviewing him, detectives obtained a search warrant and found several items linking him to the scene of the shooting.
Officials say before the incident occurred, Gonsisko was seen carrying her birdcage with Ward’s bird inside, and a glass of clear liquid. When the two sons got out of the vehicle to confront the suspect, an altercation ensued and both male victims were shot. It was then that the suspect hit Ward with the shovel. Ms. Ward stated that she could smell what appeared to be gasoline and saw the suspect dousing items with the liquid.
After Fire Rescue officials extinguished the blaze, several items from the altercation were found at the premises including the shovel and a pistol.
Gonsisko was arrested and taken to the Citrus County Detention Center, where he is charged with three counts of Attempted Murder and held without bond. Possible arson and armed robbery charges are also pending.
“This case was extensive with a lot of moving parts,” says Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “I’m proud of our team who moved quickly in making sure nearby residents were safe and after intense investigation located and arrested the suspect without incident. They did an outstanding job.”
At this time, Melinda Ward and Joseph Ward have been treated and released for their injuries. Jeremiah Ward remains at the hospital recovering from gunshot wounds to the head.
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