Monday, January 22, 2018
Public safety

Hernando sheriff: 17-year-old arrested in shooting of woman

SPRING HILL — Less than 24 hours after a woman was shot in the face near an apartment complex clubhouse, Hernando County sheriff's deputies have made an arrest.

Deputies say Christian Fitzgerald, 17, shot Brianna Goble, 18, in an area between the clubhouse and pool at Spring Haven Apartments, 220 Spring Haven Loop, just after 9:30 p.m. On Friday morning, deputies were still searching for Fitzgerald, who they later found about 4 p.m., when he returned to his home in the complex.

Goble was airlifted to a hospital Thursday night, where she remained in stable condition Friday, deputies said. During a news conference Friday, Sheriff Al Nienhuis said "she is expected to survive.

The Sheriff's Office declined to release any details about the incident or a possible motive for Fitzgerald, whose most recent address is listed as 4646 Bridgewater Club Loop in Spring Hill. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Fitzgerald has been convicted twice of misdemeanor battery.

His first arrest occurred when, at 12 years old, he was charged with misdemeanor battery in 2012. The charge was dismissed. Less than three years later, a felony battery charge against Fitzgerald was reduced and he was convicted of misdemeanor battery, records show.

Four times in 2015, Fitzgerald was arrested for failing to appear in court. In August 2016, records show he was again convicted of misdemeanor battery, and soon after was arrested for failure to appear, and then violation of probation.

Deputies say Fitzgerald was identified as the shooter early on by Goble and "at minimum, dozens" of witnesses who either saw the incident or saw him running east across Mariner Boulevard toward the Wellington at Seven Hills community afterward.

Nienhuis declined to clarify the relationship between Fitzgerald and the victim, but confirmed the two did know each other. "This is not a random act, this is not a random victim," he said, adding that Fitzgerald's family cooperated with investigators.

Senior news researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Contact Megan Reeves at [email protected] Follow @mareevs. Contact Allison Graves at [email protected] Follow @allisonbgraves.

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