LEESBURG, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - An 80-year-old man was shot at a busy shopping plaza parking lot, Monday morning, after police said he refused to give up his car keys to an armed criminal.
Monday afternoon, police said they had a person of interest in custody. Later in the evening, investigators said the person had been charged.
Photos from the scene show the 80-year-old man lying on the blacktop with a bullet in his thigh.
Paramedics treated him and later airlifted him to the hospital.
Cynthia Barton says she heard the gunshot.
“It was tremendously loud. It scared me,” she said. “I was like, 'who's shooting at me?' You know? It was very, very loud.”
Leesburg Police Capt. Joe Iozzi said when they were helping the man, he was awake and told them what happened.
“We received information from the victim, who was alert, conscious, and talking, that a black male approached him to get his keys and take his car. So, it was an attempted carjacking,” he said. “When he refused to give his keys, the man shot him in the leg and fled on foot.”
A 911 caller also saw it happen.
“It was a black male with a gray hoodie on,” the caller said. “He ran behind the plaza.”
Capt. Iozzi said it was rare that crime happens at this busy shopping center.
“We don't have attempted carjackings and shootings to citizens. It's out of the norm,” he said.
Capt. Iozzi said they always advise people to give up the keys, cash, and whatever the crook wants because it's just not worth it.
“That's generally what we'd suggest someone do during an attempted robbery,” he said. “Cooperate to mitigate the likelihood of violence.”
Police say the victim is out of the hospital and also being interviewed by police.