Three gunshots Thursday evening sent one person to the hospital, disrupted a busy shopping plaza and sparked a massive automobile chase through residential neighborhoods.
The shooting occurred about 5 p.m. at the Kash n' Karry shopping plaza at Spring Hill Drive and Mariner Boulevard. The suspect drove away and later was caught running between homes on Deltona Boulevard.
Hernando sheriff's deputies identified the shooter as Fernando Koehler, 16, of 7216 Fair Oaks St. in Spring Hill. Hernando County sheriff's Sgt. Frank Bierwiler said Thursday night Koehler probably would be charged with two counts of attempted murder, carrying a concealed weapon and numerous traffic violations. He was being questioned Thursday night.
The victim, who went to Columbia Regional Medical Center at Oak Hill, was identified as Brian Behling, 20, of 3082 Waterfall Drive. He suffered superficial wounds in the left leg above the knee, authorities said.
Koehler showed no remorse and did not provide any immediate details about what sparked the shooting, authorities said. After he was handcuffed, Koehler made an obscene gesture toward deputies, Bierwiler said.
"These young kids _ there are too many of them with weapons out there," Bierwiler said. "They're quick to fight, quick to shoot, quick to get involved in fights."
Witnesses at the shopping plaza said two cars, a Chevrolet and a Honda, sped through the parking lot before the shooting. The Chevrolet, driven by a woman, appeared to be chasing the Honda and almost ran into several parked cars, said Michael Riebau, 17, of Spring Hill, who was working at Movie Gallery, a store near the shooting scene.
In the driveway leading from the plaza to Spring Hill Drive, the two cars stopped side by side, witnesses said. The passenger in the Chevrolet jumped out of the vehicle. Koehler got out of the Honda.
The two walked toward each other and appeared to argue, said Spring Hill resident Lisa Franciose, 23, who had just walked out of the Chez Colette hair salon.
Koehler pulled a handgun, aimed at the second man and fired three times, witnesses said. The victim, shot in the leg, limped back to the Chevrolet. One of the shots apparently pierced the Chevrolet, which is why authorities said they plan to charge Koehler with a second count of attempted murder.
Both men jumped into their vehicles and sped away. The victim was driven to the hospital.
Deputies spotted Koehler's car just before 6 p.m. About 10 patrol cars chased the Honda on residential streets in Spring Hill.
Koehler apparently hit the brakes at Deltona Boulevard and Norbert Street and spun. One of the sheriff's cruisers careened into the Honda. Koehler ran behind a house carrying a green book bag with a handgun, authorities said.
Dioda Monagas, 59, was in her back yard on Deltona when she saw Koehler. "I didn't know what the hell was going on," Monagas said. "He was running so fast."
She went into her front yard. She saw deputies chase Koehler into a vacant lot. Three deputies tackled him to the ground.