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Deputies arrest suspect in Hastings shooting

David James Freer, 62, charged with attempted murder

Booking photo of David Freer
Booking photo of David Freer

HASTINGS, Fla. – A man who was questioned Monday in connection with a shooting in Hastings was served an arrest warrant Tuesday night for attempted murder and was taken to the St. Johns County Jail Thursday after he was released from the hospital.

David James Freer, 62, was charged in Clay County a day after he was questioned by police in the shooting of 58-year-old Rex Vernon Hess, the Clay County Sheriff's Office said.

According to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, Hess suffered a gunshot wound to the head Sunday night at the home he shared with Freer on Vaughn Avenue in Flagler Estates. He was flown to Orange Park Medical Center in critical condition. 

Freer was also injured in the disturbance and was taken to Flagler Hospital, officials said.

Detectives interviewed Freer after SWAT officers found him in an RV on the property, but he was sent to Orange Park Medical Center and was served an arrest warrant at the hospital.

Investigators said Freer and Hess were involved in a physical altercation and Freer left, returned with a gun and allegedly fired one shot. 

A neighbor told News4Jax that four men live in the home where the shooting was reported: a father, his son and two friends. The neighbor said he heard shots from a high-caliber gun, possibly a .45. Deputies told him to stay inside while they searched.

Freer is charged with attempted first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by convicted felon.

He is being held in the jail on $400,000 bond.


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