LAKE CITY, Fla. – A man was arrested Wednesday in connection with a shooting last month on U.S. Highway 90 near the Interstate 75 interchange, according to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
Joshua Bell Farmer is charged with attempted murder and other weapons offenses.
Right now, according to investigators, it appears the shooting might have stemmed from a case of mistaken identity.
Shortly after 11:30 p.m. April 25, according to deputies, a Dodge Charger with chrome rims showed up at a gas station and a man, later identified as a victim, walked up to the Charger, thinking it was a relative’s car, but when the man realized it wasn’t, he walked away. Investigators said that as the man was walking back to his car, someone who was inside the Charger started an argument with him. According to deputies, the victim and a woman drove away, but they were followed by the Charger down Highway 90 and then someone inside the Charger fired multiple gunshots into their Jeep, striking the victim, who was brought to another gas station where an employee called 911 for help.
“He started getting woozy and he fell back and hit his head,” said the employee, who News4Jax chose not to identify.
The gunshot victim was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The woman in the Jeep was not injured.
“You always have the potential for innocent bystanders to be hurt, so it was important for us to locate the suspect and apprehend him,” said Sgt. Steven Khachigan, with the Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators said they were able to identify Bell Farmer as the suspect because of video surveillance, an unnamed eyewitness and the victim’s ability to recall seeing a distinctive tattoo on the suspect’s forehead.
“You can see that tattoo, so that was a big identifier in the case,” Khachigan said.
On Wednesday afternoon, deputies located Bell Farmer inside a car parked in the parking lot of a hotel in Lake City and took him into custody. At the time of his arrest, the Sheriff’s Office said, Bell Farmer, a convicted felon, was in possession of a loaded handgun with a round in the chamber. Deputies said they did not find the gun that they believe was used in the shooting -- which investigators believe was an AK-47.
Bell Farmer was booked into the Columbia County jail, where he was being held on $2.05 million bond as of Thursday, according to online jail records.
According to Florida Department of Corrections records, Bell Farmer has been in and out of prison on firearm convictions. Court records show one of his stints in prison included a conviction for beating up an inmate inside the Duval County jail.
Deputies said Bell Farmer is listed in a criminal database as a documented gang member.