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Details emerge in shootings of two AWOL soldiers in Pasco

ZEPHYRHILLS — Pasco sheriff's deputies on Friday were still piecing together the details of two shootings involving a pair of soldiers who were AWOL from a U.S. Army base in Fort Drum, N.Y.

Motives in both shootings remained a mystery.

In the first, which occurred on Monday, 19-year-old Jason Hise was shot in the chest with a Colt .45 handgun near an old golf course on Wire Road and Ruth Avenue, according to Kevin Doll, the sheriff's spokesman.

Hise, of Zephyrhills, was in a medically induced coma at an undisclosed hospital, Doll said. On Friday, Doll said, his condition was improving.

Witnesses told Pasco deputies the person who shot Hise was Randall Ziegler, 19.

Then on Thursday, Ziegler himself was shot in the face in a field south of State Road 54 near Lane Road, according to the Sheriff's Office. A man named Christopher Sims, 18, was charged with Ziegler's shooting.

Sims told deputies that he and another unidentified man took Ziegler of Oklahoma into the field with the intent of "scaring him using a handgun," according to the Sheriff's Office.

Sims told deputies he fired the gun at Zeigler twice, unsuccessfully. The third time, the gun went off. Sims told deputies he left Ziegler for dead.

But Ziegler survived and went to a house nearby for help. He was taken to an undisclosed hospital, where he remained on Friday, Doll said.

Sims of Zephyrhills is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail at the Land O'Lakes jail.

Ziegler told deputies that the three men were in the field hunting for mushrooms, Doll said.

Doll said Hise, Sims and Ziegler "all know each other," but was unsure how they met.

Sheriff's deputies informed U.S. Army officials they found Hise and Zeigler.

It's unknown why or when the men went AWOL.

A spokesman from the U.S. Army didn't return a phone call Friday.

Sims' grandfather, Dennis Michael, 71, of Zephyrhills, said he didn't see Sims often, but knew that he dropped out of Zephyrhills High School before graduation.

Michael said Sims wasn't in the military, and lived nearby in a duplex on Lane Road.

No one answered the door at Hise or Ziegler's homes on Friday afternoon.

Some clues emerge about Hise on his MySpace page.

According to the page, Hise was taken off of a ventilator on Friday, and may be released from the intensive care unit at the hospital today.

Hise, an infantryman, describes himself as outgoing, and said he enjoys watching movies and shooting pool. He said he is on a three-year hitch at Fort Drum.

An excerpt from the "About Me" section Hise penned on the page says "Live life to its fullest, live everyday as if it were your last cause for some of us it is."

Times Staff Writer Erin Sullivan and researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this story. Camille C. Spencer can be reached at cspencer@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4609.

Details emerge in shootings of two AWOL soldiers in Pasco 03/06/09 [Last modified: Friday, March 6, 2009 10:12pm]
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