TAMPA, Fla. — The victim of a shooting speaking for the first time. The crime sparked by a political fight on social media. Earlier this week, we brought you the shooter's side of the story. Now, the victim is speaking only with ABC Action News and shows us screenshots, he says, tell a different story.
"I do regret what I did," said admitted shooter Brian Sebring of the August 6th shooting.
From a hospital room, Alex Stephens watches his confession from a cell phone — but Stephens calls it "crocodile tears."
"Does this look like somebody that feels remorse our anything? I mean does it?" Stephens holds up his phone. On it is a picture of Sebring holding a rifle. A picture he claims Sebring sent him during their contentious argument on Facebook.
Stephens is at Tampa General healing from three surgeries to save his leg. He tells me it all started with a heated political post. One comment he wrote put him on his would-be shooter's radar.
"I said something like...well, I'm glad this dork is out of here. I'm glad we got rid of him," explained Stephens.
He says at that point the conversation took a dark turn. The original post was deleted but we got ahold of screenshots that Stephens claims are of the original online conversation. On them Stephens goes by the name Dusty Rhodes. At one point Sebring appears to write "I will lite you up."
"I never threatened his house. I never threatened his kid," said Stephens of Sebring's accusations he grabbed for his gun after threats from him.
But Stephens did give Sebring his address and told him to honk when he got there, precisely what Sebring ended up doing. In his truck was an AR-15 Carbine. On his hip was a Glock semi-automatic pistol.
Stephens' intention by giving away his address? He says it was to resolve the argument with their fists. Instead, the fist-fight turned to gunfire.
Just after the shooting, a friend of Stephens' commented, "Well it's safe to say you're probably going to jail."
Sebring's appeared to respond, "Yup,I just joined the felony club... Shot his *expletive* twice."
Stephens' friend asks him, "So you shot him, and you're letting us know that you shot him?"
To which the shooter seems to have replied with, "I know I'm going to jail."
"He was there to warn me because he came with guns. When he fired into my legs, that means he meant to hurt me," said Stephens.
He considers himself lucky to be alive. Now, he just wants his shooter to do the time.