GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The widow, mother and brothers of a 35-year-old man who died when one or more masked gunmen burst into a family gathering at their Gainesville home last week are asking the public for help finding whoever fired the shots.
Antonio Mason, 35, died at the scene after suffering gunshot wounds to the chest, Gainesville police said. Mason's 11-month-old daughter, who he was holding at the time, and a second adult man were also shot and are recovering.
"Look at her," Mason's oldest brother, Adaryll Ferguson, said as he held his niece with her arm in a cast. "If you're out there watching and you know the people responsible for this, quit holding it in ... turn those cowards in."
Gainesville police initially said two men armed with handguns began firing shots from the doorway into the home on Northwest 4th Place, near the University of Florida campus, at 11:40 p.m. Wednesday. On Tuesday morning, police said they found two different type of shell casing at the scene, which is why they believe there were two gunmen.
Officers were already in the area when multiple 911 calls came in about the shooting. They arrived in less than a minute. Police said a family was having a get together and it appeared that more than 20 people were inside the home when the gunfire began. Many people were running away from the home when officers arrived.
A motive for the shooting is unknown, but police said it appears the home was targeted.
“What kind of person can point a gun at a father holding an infant and make the barbaric decision to pull that trigger? There is no excuse whatsoever for this to happen,” GPD Officer Ben Tobias said. “We are expending every resource we have available to try to identify and capture those responsible for this horrendous act of violence."
Anyone with information is asked to contact GPD’s Detective Bureau at 352-393-7670 or CrimeStoppers at 352-372-STOP. Anonymous tips can be submitted by texting keyword GPDFL plus a tip to 274637.
GPD is offering a $3,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the shooters.