Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

AWOL soldiers part of investigation into Zephyrhills shootings

ZEPHYRHILLS — Pasco County deputies are investigating whether an AWOL soldier shot Thursday morning is the same man who allegedly shot another AWOL soldier this week.

The victims apparently knew each other, said Kevin Doll, Sheriff's Office spokesman.

The first shooting occurred Monday. Jason Hise, 19, of Zephyrhills was hit in the chest in a field near Wire Road.

Witnesses originally told authorities an unknown male pulled the trigger, then said the shooter was Randall Ziegler, 19,, also of Zephyrhills, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Since the shooting, Hise has been in a medically induced coma at an undisclosed hospital. Doll said deputies did not release details on Monday as they attempted to sort out the case, which is still under investigation.

Three days after allegedly shooting Hise, Ziegler had a gun pulled on him.

Christopher Sims, 18, was charged with shooting Ziegler in the face in a field near Lane Road on Thursday morning.

Sims, also of Zephyrhills, told deputies he and another unidentified man took Ziegler into the field around 5 a.m. with the intention of "scaring him by using a handgun," according to an arrest report.

Sims told deputies he fired the gun at Ziegler's head twice unsuccessfully. The third time, the gun went off. Sims left Ziegler for dead, the report said.

But Ziegler survived. He went to a nearby house for help. Deputies said he was taken to an undisclosed hospital in stable condition.

Sims was charged with attempted murder. He is at the Land O'Lakes Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.

The Sheriff's Office made the Army aware they had found Ziegler and Hise. As of Thursday, there were no warrants out for their arrests.

It is not known where the men where stationed or how long they had been AWOL. Army officials could not be reached Thursday.

According to reports, thousands of enlistees and soldiers have deserted in the greatest numbers since 2001.

After the U.S. invasion of Iraq in spring 2003, the number and rate of desertion increased three years in a row. In 2008, desertions went down slightly, but were still greater than the rate in 2003.

Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report. Helen Anne Travis can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 435-7312.

AWOL soldiers part of investigation into Zephyrhills shootings 03/05/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 5, 2009 10:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Me too': Alyssa Milano urged assault victims to tweet in solidarity. The response was massive.

    Human Interest

    Actor Alyssa Milano took to Twitter on Sunday with an idea, suggested by a friend, she said.

    Within hours of Alyssa Milano’s tweet, tweets with the words “me too” began appearing. By 3 a.m. Monday, almost 200,000 metoo tweets were published by Twitter’s count.
  2. Tampa tax shelter schemer too fat for his prison term, attorney says


    TAMPA — A federal judge sentenced two Bay area men to prison terms last week for peddling an offshore tax shelter scheme that cost the IRS an estimated $10 million.

    Duane Crithfield and Stephen Donaldson Sr. were sentenced to prison after marketing a fraudulent offshore tax strategy known as a "Business Protection Plan" to medical practices, offering doctors and others coverage against unlikely events such as a kidnapping.

  3. Weinstein Co., overwhelmed by backlash, may be up for sale


    NEW YORK — The Weinstein Co., besieged by sexual harassment allegations against its namesake and co-founder, may be putting itself up for sale.

  4. Trial begins in 2014 death of 19-month-old Tampa girl


    TAMPA — Even before his trial officially began, Deandre Gilmore had planted his gaze on the floor of Judge Samantha Ward's courtroom Monday, taking a deep breath and shifting in his seat as a pool of 60 potential jurors learned of his charges.

  5. Rick Pitino officially fired by Louisville amid federal corruption probe


    In an expected move, the University of Louisville Athletic Association's Board of Directors on Monday voted unanimously to fire men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. The decision came 19 days after Louisville acknowledged that its men's basketball program was being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe and …

    In this Oct. 20, 2016, file photo, Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino reacts to a question during a press conference in Louisville, Ky. Louisville's Athletic Association on Monday officially fired Pitino, nearly three weeks after the school acknowledged that its men's basketball program is being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe. [AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File]