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'Totally innocent bystander': Person, dog injured in shooting behind Spring Hill Publix

Conditions of the victim and their dog are unknown
shooting-investigation-behind-publix-in-spring-hill-WFTS-Action-Air-1.jpg
Posted at 10:56 AM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 17:30:20-04

SPRING HILL, Fla. — Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis said a person and a dog were shot by a random person behind a Spring Hill Publix on Tuesday morning, just after 10 a.m.

Nienhuis said the shooter, identified as Randall Gerding, Jr., 51, had a confrontation with a family member behind the store, located at 160 Mariner Boulevard.

He said Gerding asked the family member for money and other valuables.

During that altercation, Nienhuis said a dog started barking from a nearby car which caught the attention of Gerding.

The sheriff said Gerding walked over to the car and began firing shots striking both a person and the dog.

"Both of which were totally unrelated to the shooter or the original altercation with the person known to the shooter," Nienhuis said.

After opening fire, Gerding walked back to the area looking for his family member, but that person was able to hide.

According to detectives, Gerding took off from the scene but returned while deputies were giving first aid to the victim and the dog.

Nienhuis said Gerding had driven through some hedges and was acting "very erratically."

Deputies engaged the suspect, who Nienhuis said initially tried to reach back into the vehicle but ultimately gave up and was taken into custody.

The victim was taken to a nearby trauma center and is expected to make a full recovery. The dog was taken to a nearby veterinarian's office. It is also expected to make a full recovery.

Nienhuis said authorities are still piecing together what happened but they believe it all started prior to the shooting at Publix with an altercation in Pasco County, then a home burglary in Hernando County.

Action Air 1 flew over the scene where tape could be seen around a tow truck.

Shooting behind Spring Hill Publix being investigated | Action Air 1

The Publix remained open while deputies investigated.