Friday, May 25, 2018
Public safety

Hernando deputies arrest mother, daughter in gun incident in Walmart lot

SPRING HILL — A Brooksville mother and daughter were arrested Tuesday morning after they pointed a loaded semiautomatic pistol at four people in the parking lot of the Walmart Supercenter on Cortez Boulevard, authorities say.

A Hernando County Sheriff's Office report gave this account:

Ramona Ward, 56, and Ralph Ashley Ward Jr., 28, confronted the people at about 4:30 a.m. because Ramona believed they were holding her husband against his will.

Ramona Ward, who is employed as an exceptional student education paraprofessional at Moton Elementary School in Brooksville, said she grew suspicious because her husband had been gone all day and she noticed questionable transactions on the couple's bank account. She pointed the .22-caliber pistol at the group of people and threatened to shoot them if they did not cooperate, and at one point she passed the gun to her daughter.

Ramona Ward's husband told her he was not in danger and made the transactions willingly, but she kept the gun pointed at the four people until deputies arrived, the report states.

Ramona Ward, of 8485 Cooper Terrace, and her daughter, who lists her address as a Brooksville post office box, were both booked at the Hernando County Detention Center and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without the intent to kill. Each posted $7,000 bail and was released.

Ramona Ward worked as a substitute teacher for the Hernando schools from 1993 until 2010, when she was hired as a paraprofessional at Moton, according to the district. She was not reappointed for the 2011-12 school year, then was rehired in March to her current position.

She has been suspended without pay because of the nature of the charge and "other circumstances," superintendent Bryan Blavatt said, declining to elaborate.

"I would assure folks, at the minimum, she's not going to be back on any campuses this year or probably the future," Blavatt said.

Staff writer Tony Marrero contributed to this report. Laura Herrera can be reached at (352)754-6114.

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