19-year-old shot at Palm Coast birthday party
Gunman at large; victim has several previous arrests in Flagler County
PALM COAST, Fla. – Flagler County deputies are searching for a gunman after a 19-year-old man was shot in the face early Sunday morning at a large birthday party at a Palm Coast home.
The Sheriff's Office says Johnnie Thomas Jr., of Bunnell, was shot about 3 a.m. at the end of what it described as a loud party at a house on Pine Hill Lane. Thomas was taken by friends to Florida Hospital Flagler, where he was treated and released.
Thomas was arrested in April for firing a .32-caliber gun at Ralph Carter Park in Palm Coast when two groups of teens got into a brawl and with dozens of children nearby.
Thomas (pictured right in Flagler County booking photo) has been in and out of jail five times in the last five years, most recently last August on a trespass after warning charge.
Deputies say there were 75 to 100 people at the party when several gunshots were heard coming from the front of the house. Three or four shell casings were recovered at the entrance to the house.
While many scattered immediately after the shooting, several people did witness the shooting, but the gunman's identity was not known by investigators at the scene Sunday.
"This was a reckless act of violence, which endangered the lives of many. Incidents such as this need to stop before innocent lives are lost," Sheriff Jim Manfre said in a statement.
Anyone with information that could help investigators in this case is asked to contact Detective Annie Conrad at 386-586-4844 or Crime Stoppers at 888-277-TIPS (8477). Callers may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward up to $1,000.
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