Hernando County deputies arrested a 17-year-old gunman who reportedly shot a female victim in the face at an apartment complex in Spring Hill on Thursday night.
According to deputies, the shooting took place at the Spring Haven Apartments, in Spring Hill. The victim, identified as 18-year-old Brianna Goble, was walking along Spring Haven Loop area, near the complex's clubhouse when she was shot around 9:30 p.m. by 17-year-old Christian Fitzgerald.
Cathleen Cancel lives at the Spring Haven Apartments. She says just after 9:30 she thought she heard a firework, and went outside near the pool then heard screaming.
"She was right over here. She way laying there choking," Cancel said. "She was in pain, she was trying to talk, we knew that."
The girl on the ground was 18-year-old Brianna Goble. Goble’s family released pictures and a statement saying the bullet shattered her teeth, gums, first vertebrae and skull before exiting through her neck.
Goble was transported by medical helicopter to an area trauma center for treatment of the wound. Deputies said it was not a random act and that Fitzgerald and Goble knew each other.
According to officials, Fitzgerald was last seen running east, across Mariner Boulevard, toward the Wellington community after the incident. Both the K-9 Unit and the Aviation Unit assisted in the search for Fitzgerald. Residents living in and around Wellington were encouraged to stay indoors until the search was complete.
He was later located and taken into custody, without incident, from his apartment just before 4:00 p.m. Friday.
Goble remains hospitalized and in stable condition.
Elizabeth Limestahl spoke on behalf of Brianna Goble’s family Friday night. She said family and friends feel some relief because deputies arrested a suspect in the shooting and because Goble is expected to slowly recover.
"At this point there are so many unanswered questions right now that our main focus is, right now, is just Brianna's recovery,” Limestahl said.
Limestahl said Goble’s younger brother saw Fitzgerald shoot his sister.
"My heart just bleeds for Brianna's brother having to witness that. Our kids shouldn’t have to be going through things like this,” Limestahl said.
Limestahl hopes the community wraps their arms around the family.
"We are so fortunate and so blessed that Brianna is going to recover from this that she will be okay in the long run, but it’s going to take the community to help get her there,” Limestahl said.