Thursday, February 22, 2018
Public safety

Autopsies reveal head, neck wounds in Brooksville slayings

BROOKSVILLE — Autopsies of the three people shot and killed Friday night in south Brooksville showed that all of the victims suffered gunshot wounds to the head and neck, Brooksville police reported Tuesday.

Police said that just before 9 p.m. Friday, 42-year-old George Mason III of Lutz fatally shot his girlfriend, Tarasha Townsend, 37, Ralph Peyton, 29, and 81-year-old Jannie Taylor, at 820 Peach St.

Moments later, he also shot and injured half-brother, Gabriel "Bo" Taylor, 33.

According to investigators, Mason chased Gabriel Taylor to the nearby corner of Dr. M.L. King Jr. Boulevard and Main Street and shot him multiple times with a 9 mm handgun. Almost at the same moment, Mason was struck by a Dodge pickup heading east on M.L. King.

Mason spent a lot of time at the cream-colored house on Peach, where Gabriel Taylor, Jannie Taylor and Ralph Peyton lived. Gabriel Taylor and Ralph Peyton were half brothers and Jannie Taylor was their grandmother

Police said Mason remained in stable condition Tuesday at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Hudson. He suffered numerous broken bones and internal injuries in the crash.

He faces three counts of homicide and one count of attempted homicide.

Gabriel Taylor was listed in stable condition with multiple gunshot wounds, including wounds to his head and face, upper body and shoulder.

Police Chief George Turner said numerous witnesses have come forward to cooperate with the ongoing investigation into one of the most horrific shooting rampages in Brooksville history.

Police have not yet released information regarding the motive for the attack, but Turner did say that Mason had a lengthy criminal record with a history of drug sales and violence. Roughly a pound of marijuana was found inside the residence, Turner said. He didn't know to whom the marijuana belonged.

"The bottom line is somebody in the house was selling drugs," he said.

A witness told police that an argument erupted between Peyton and Mason before Mason started firing. Mason was interviewed at the scene and in the hospital and admitted to the shooting, but didn't explain why, Turner said.

Turner said the witness — a 16-year-old relative — said Mason shot Peyton first, then Townsend, who was outside at the time. She was lying in the street when police arrived. The witness said Mason shot Jannie Taylor and chased Gabriel Taylor across the street, then east on M.L. King.

The man driving the pickup that hit Mason was cooperative, Turner said. Authorities have declined to release his name.

Police released a host of 911 tapes on Tuesday night, painting a chaotic picture. Several people called in to request help for the gunshot victims. The driver of a tan Dodge Ram 1500 called in to say he had just struck a man in the street. Other calls came from inside the home of where the shooting occurred.

Contact Danny Valentine at dvalent[email protected] or (352) 848-1432. Follow @HernandoTimes.

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