NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – Two men were arrested after two children were injured in a road rage shooting over the weekend that started in Duval County and stretched into Nassau County, authorities said.
At a news conference on Monday morning, Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said that the incident occurred around 6 p.m. Saturday on U.S. 1 near Callahan and stretched for several miles. He noted that multiple 911 calls were made.
“A guy in an SUV is driving reckless,” one 911 call can be heard saying in audio obtained by News4JAX. “I think they’re hauling — they are both hauling butt.”
According to a witness, Leeper said, there was a black Dodge Ram pickup truck with five occupants and a gray Nissan Murano sport utility vehicle with three occupants involved in the incident, which a witness described as a “cat-and-mouse game.”
William Joseph Hale was driving the Ram and Frank Gilliard Allison was driving the Murano north on U.S. 1 from the Jacksonville area, both “speeding, driving erratically and brake checking each other,” Leeper said.
At some point, according to the Leeper, the driver of the Ram got up alongside the Murano, rolled a window down and began shouting at the driver of the Murano to pull over. A passenger of the Murano then rolled down a window and made an obscene gesture, and the driver of the Murano rolled down his window to shout back at the other driver when a plastic water bottle was thrown from the Ram into the Nissan, according to Leeper.
“According to the Nissan driver, Allison, the water bottle did not hurt him or cause him to lose control of vehicle,” Leeper said.
The sheriff said the driver of the Murano then grabbed his .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun and fired one shot at the Ram — which went through the rear passenger door on the right side and struck a 5-year-old girl — before speeding off.
“Allison stated the reason he fired his weapon was to get out of the whole situation,” Leeper said. “According to the driver of the Dodge Ram, Hale, he heard a loud ‘pow’ but didn’t really think nothing of it until everyone started freaking out in the back seat.”
According to the sheriff, the driver of the Ram realized one of the passengers had been shot as the Murano sped away, sped closer to the Murano, and began firing several shots from his Glock 43 9-millimeter semi-automatic handgun — one of which went through the rear of the vehicle and struck a 14-year-old girl in the back, causing her to suffer a collapsed lung.
“According to the Dodge driver, he shot everything that was in the magazine — seven or eight rounds,” Leeper said.
The mother of one of the children who was shot can be heard on a 911 call.
“My daughter’s been shot — please help me,” she says.
A child can also be heard weeping on the call.
“I don’t want to die,” the child can be heard saying.
As both drivers continued heading north, Leeper said, they spotted a Nassau County Sheriff’s Office patrol car and stopped. That’s when, according to Leeper, the two drivers got out and started arguing and fighting with each other, and the deputy had to break up the fight.
The two hurt children were transported to the hospital, and Leeper described their injuries as non-life-threatening.
“What is scarier than one crazy driver with a gun than two crazy drivers with a gun?” Leeper said. “Thankfully, no one was killed in this incident. But it could have been very easily turned out that way because two people were acting stupid and let their tempers get the best of them. There could have been two dead kids because of two stupid grown men.”
At one point, Leeper said, there was another pickup truck involved in the road rage but was not involved in the shooting.
According to the sheriff, Allison, 43, of Callahan, and Hale, 35, of Douglas, Georgia, were arrested and charged with attempted murder. They were booked into the Nassau County jail but have since bonded out.
Sheriff Leeper urged drivers to not engage someone if they find themselves in a similar situation as the one over the weekend.
“Someone who’s driving aggressively around you, let him go. Slow down. Go the other direction. Get the vehicle description if you can and call police,” he said.