Kids nearly shot as neighbors exchange gunfire in Deltona

A Deltona man is recovering and facing charges after a dispute with his neighbor turned into a shootout that struck a passing vehicle.

On Thursday at about 4 pm, 911 operators received 2 calls from the 1700 block of Howland Blvd. in Deltona. One caller claiming that his neighbor had just shot him, and the other claiming to have just shot at a neighbor.

According to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, the 2 men were in a dispute over a baseball being thrown against a fence. Sheriff Mike Chitwood said one of the neighbors was sitting outside when the other neighbor’s son was practicing baseball against a shared fence.

"Neighbor tells him, 'hey, knock off throwing the ball against the fence, it's really annoying.' Young man goes inside and tells his father, his father goes inside and grabs his 9 mm pistol,” said Sheriff Chitwood.

The altercation was then caught on another neighbor’s security camera. The man deputies said was the father can be seen walking over to the neighbor’s door and then dropping, what deputies say is a gun from the waistband of his shorts. 

The first neighbor goes back inside as the other walks down back from the door, but can be seen opening the door again with a gun of his own.

Chitwood said the neighbor that showed up with the first gun then fired a shot before the second neighbor fired back.

"We have a gun fight at the OK Corral,” said Chitwood. "How they don't kill one another: I don't know."
Chitwood said the neighbor who came over with the gun was struck in the hand by one shot.

However, the shootout was happening along Howland Blvd. which is a major road through town and has a pretty regular flow of traffic. Deputies said at least one of those bullets seemed to fly directly into that traffic and into the back window of a car.

Richard Lantz of Deltona pointed to the bullet hole in his car’s rear window Friday afternoon; showing the blacked spot on the wall inside where the bullet hit.

"Out of nowhere I just heard, 'pop!' and I looked in the rearview mirror and saw a hole in my window,” said Lantz.

Lantz said the hole was smoking, indicating a bullet had hit, and it was also just 4 to 6 inches from his 9 year-old granddaughter’s head who was sitting in the back seat with a friend. The grandfather was taking the two girls home from school when they drove into the unexpected "warzone."

"My daughter kept saying, 'I could have died, I could have died!'" said Christina Tredesco whose daughter was also in the car. 

Lantz said when they finally got stopped and got out of the car, his granddaughter had a bullet fragment on the hem of her dress. 

Deputies arrested 41 year-old Gregory Castellanos, identified as the neighbor who went to the other house with the gun, for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, shooting into an occupied dwelling, and carrying a concealed firearm without a permit.

Lantz said he is pressing charges, and both he and Tredesco said they’re just thankful no one in the car got hit.