A Florida father and his 15-year-old son were arrested on attempted murder charges after they shot at a woman who they mistakenly believed was trying to break into their home, officials said.
Gino Colonacosta, 73, and his son opened fire Saturday morning after they got a Ring doorbell notification about someone at the front door of their Winter Haven apartment around 7 a.m. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.
That person was a neighbor who received a medicine delivery for the Coloncostas at his home, and being “a Good Samaritan” he took the medicine and hung it on the Coloncosta’s front door, Judd said.
But after receiving an alert from their Ring doorbell camera, the father and son exited their home armed with .45 caliber firearms searching for a person they suspected to be a burglar, according to the sheriff’s office.
Nearly 100 yards away, they found a woman sitting in a dark colored vehicle with dark windows and the engine running, looking at her phone, and targeted her, Judd said.
“When she looks up and she sees Gino standing at the back of the vehicle with a gun pointed at her, screaming for her to get out of the car, she thinks, ‘He’s about to carjack me, he’s about to rob me,’” Judd said.
The woman threw her car into reverse in an attempt to back out of the way, and crashed into a car behind her in the frantic escape.
The teenage son heard the commotion and neared the car and thought “our victim is trying to back into him” and he opened fire, Judd said.
Both Colonacosta and his son started shooting into the car as the woman sped away.
They shot a total of seven times. The woman was not hit, and alerted the sheriff’s office.
The investigation found that one of the bullets went through a baby’s car seat and lodged into the driver’s seat of the car.
“Our victim was that close to death and certainly had there been a baby in the car seat, the baby would have been killed,” Judd said.
The sheriff said the incident ranks among “the craziest stuff that I have seen in a while.”
“Here you’ve got these two guys, who are way out of line. Way out of control. They don’t understand the Florida law,” he said.
He noted that Florida has a “stand your ground law,” which allows a person to use or threaten force to protect their home if they feel a person is threatening them or is trying to make forcible entry, but “that doesn’t mean you can go search people out and shoot them.”
“And news flash, even if the first guy would’ve been the burglary suspect, if he was, they shot the wrong person,” Judd said.
The sheriff said neither Colonacosta or his son had criminal records until Saturday morning, adding, “our goal is for them to go to prison.
“You don’t shoot at people. You don’t leave the security of your home and go out and chase people down,” Judd said in a sharp rebuke.
Colonacosta was arrested on a charge of attempted felony murder with a weapon, improper exhibit of a firearm, negligence, discharging a firearm in public, parent guardian allowing unlawful possession, conspiracy, and contributing to delinquency, according to booking records. He’s being held on no bond.
His son was arrested on a charge of attempted felony murder and other counts.
It’s not immediately clear if Colonacosta or his son have a lawyer.