CLAY COUNTY, Fla. - One young man is in the hospital and recovering after being shot in the face at a house party in Clay County early Sunday morning.
Detectives with the Clay County Sheriff's Office said the incident started just before 4 a.m. when 20-30 uninvited guests showed up to the party off of Woodbriar Drive in Orange Park.
"It's very scary, especially as a mother, to know we feel like we live in a nice neighborhood and we just really don't feel safe right now," said neighbor Ellen Golden.
The homeowners said they asked the guests to leave due to their rowdiness, and deputies said the group left the house but continued to hang out in the street outside the victim's home, at one point setting off fireworks.
That's when, according to the Sheriff's Office, the 21-year-old victim, Barrett Milam, and a friend grabbed a .380-caliber handgun and a .40-cal handgun and approached a group of five or six men in the driveway, telling them they needed to leave.
A spokesperson for the Sheriff's Office said that's when a verbal argument ensued. Milam and his friend were then approached from behind by men with handguns and told to get on the ground, deputies said. They said Milam's friend knocked away the gun pointed at his head and ran inside to retrieve a shotgun.
According to deputies, as he was running inside the house he heard a gun shot. When he returned from the home, he discovered that the men were leaving in a silver sports utility vehicle and Milam had been shot in the face. Milam was taken to UF Health Jacksonville in critical but stable condition.
"When you hear something like that, it's devastating, for one because that's a life that could have potentially been lost, and that person has family and loved ones," said neighbor Alvin Jackson.
"We have lived here for nine years and we have felt safe up until the last year," said Golden.
"When I heard about it, it was pretty scary," said Jackson. "It's close to home and when things happen like that close to home, it's scary."
No arrests have been made. Detectives are asking anyone with information to call the Clay County Sheriff's Office at 904-264-6512.
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