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Dade City man arrested for shooting girlfriend in back

Posted at 3:51 PM, May 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-09 15:58:01-04

DADE CITY, Fla. — A Dade City man was arrested on Wednesday for shooting his girlfriend in the back, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

Ronald Crisp, 41, told deputies he was cleaning his gun when it went off. He claims the bullet went through a wall, into the living room and hit Elizabeth Perez.

Deputies say Perez told them a different story. After getting out of surgery following the shooting, Perez said it happened during an argument, according the the sheriff's office.

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Perez told deputies she and Crisp had been arguing for days leading up to the shooting. On Wednesday morning, she said they started arguing in their bedroom and Crisp pulled out a pocket knife, according to the sheriff's office.

She left the bedroom for a few minutes then returned and found Crisp holding a handgun, the sheriff's office says. After exchanging words she left the room again, shutting the door behind her. She heard a shot and felt pain in her lower back, the sheriff's office says.

Perez screamed for Crisp to call 911 because he had their only phone. She told deputies he hesitated and she tried to get the phone from him but was unable to, according to the sheriff's office.

Crisp did eventually call 911, around 6 a.m. When an operator answered he hung up, the sheriff's office says. Operators called the number back and Crisp answered.

He told the operator that he shot his girlfriend while cleaning his gun, then the operator heard a woman scream in the background. Crisp hung up again, according to the sheriff's office.

Operators attempted to call the number back several times before Crisp answered again. Operators heard Perez screaming again and the call was disconnected a third time. The sheriff's office says no more attempts were made by phone after that.

Deputies responded to the home and found Perez suffering from a gunshot wound to her lower back. She was treated on scene, then taken to an area trauma center for advanced care.

Crisp was interviewed on scene and told deputies it was an accident. Deputies say there was no evidence to back up his account of the bullet going through the living room wall.

They did find a hole in the bedroom door, consistent with what Perez told them, the sheriff's office says. They also found a .380 caliber handgun that had an altered serial number, a pocket knife in the bedroom and a short barreled rifle with no identifiable serial number hidden in the master bedroom.

Crisp was charged with aggravated battery with a firearm causing great bodily injury, shooting a deadly missile, tampering with a witness, possession of a firearm with an altered serial number and possession of a short barreled rifle.