PLANT CITY, Fla. - Two brothers are dead, and a third hospitalized following a shooting in rural Plant City.
Beyond the strawberry fields and livestock off Varn Road near Knights Griffin Rd., Hillsborough County deputies say two brothers, Milton and Perry Varn, both in their 60s, drove to the middle of a pasture Saturday afternoon. Two other family members, a man and a woman, joined them.
"There was a meeting between some of the family members, then another one of them arrived and then the dispute occurred," said Col. Donna Lusczynski of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
The fight turning violent with gunshots leaving both brothers dead and a third person hurt. The fourth person on scene was not injured. Deputies say there were multiple guns recovered and at least two people fired weapons.
The family has been embattled in a property dispute for years that's brought deputies out many times.
"We've been out for several calls there at the location. There are several residences there and we've been at the different homes," said Col. Lusczynski.
Neighbors knew there was family fighting going on, but never thought it would have such a deadly ending.
"There's tensions in families. There's tensions in this town amongst families. Nobody every expects it to come to that. It's just a tragedy," said neighbor Casey Ferguson.
Ferguson has known the Varn family all his life and had become close with Milton.
"He marched to the beat of his own drum, but was a good guy to me," Ferguson said.
Now he and others in the tight-knit community are anxiously awaiting answers about how this situation got so out of hand.
Investigators say Milton Varn shot his brother, Perry Varn and then Milton shot George Long, before threatening to shoot Joanne. Joanne feared for her life and shot Milton in self defense.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office will meet with the State Attorney's Office for prosecutorial review. No further information was released.