Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Florida: Home invasion suspect shot, killed by resident; four others arrested

Ocala, Florida

From the Star-Banner of July 23, 2008
Home invasion suspect shot, killed by resident; four others arrested

One of two men who forced their way into a Williston-area home early Wednesday was shot to death by one of the home’s occupants, a shooting that authorities described as self-defense.

The second suspected intruder, along with three alleged accomplices, are in jail after an investigation by Marion County sheriff’s deputies of the attempted home invasion robbery.

Investigators said the home invasion occurred about 2:30 a.m. at the home Roger Dan Garrison, 49, in the 19000 block of Northwest County Road 335.

Two of the suspects, Jonathan Gaal, 19, of Ocala, and Brian Bond, 19, of Summerfield, forced their way inside as three alleged accomplices awaited nearby in a car. According to sheriff’s investigators, Garrison’s brother, Martin Randy Garrison, 54, was asleep on a couch in the living room and had a .25-caliber handgun under the couch. When Gaal pointed a handgun at Martin Garrison, the older man fired three shots at Gaal at point-blank range.

Gaal ran out of the home, but collapsed and died in the front yard.

“I thought it was all a bad dream,” said Roger Garrison later Wednesday, as he cleaned up the house. “I didn’t know what their intentions were. It was scary.”

He said he first realized something was amiss when he heard his dog barking. “We have an American bulldog that stays in the house,” Garrison said. “When Gus barks, somebody is here.”

Garrison went into his living room and saw two men dressed in black with their faces covered, according to the Sheriff’s Office report.

He said he was told to get down on the floor by one of the robbers. At that point, he heard gunshots.

“Boom, boom, boom,” Roger Garrison remembered. “Then I see them running out the back door, and I ran and locked it. I didn’t know if my brother was shot or if they were.

“My brother is still real upset about it. We’ve never been through anything like that before. Robberies are something you hear about, but you never want to go through one. I know that now.”

When deputies arrived, they found Gaal in the yard of the residence with a gun in his hand. Sheriff’s spokeswoman Jennifer Fisher said that Garrison is not facing any immediate charges because he acted in self-defense.

Fisher said that investigators recovered Gaal’s cell phone and answered it when calls came in. That led investigators to the four suspects, who Fisher said cooperated with investigators and gave statements.

“They came in believing that they were just part of a burglary,” Fisher said. “They had no idea about the homicide or that Gaal had died.”

Gaal was the nephew of Jackie Bellomy Jr., 48, of Williston, who investigators believe helped Gaal and Bond get into the home. Wednesday afternoon, sheriff’s officials arrested Bellomy Jr., Bond, Albert Rodriguez, 21, of Belleview, and Richard Bellomy, 24, of Williston, another nephew, for second-degree murder and armed home invasion.

“After hours of questioning all persons involved, detectives were able to piece together a tangled plot to rob the residence in Williston,” Fisher said in a news release. “The Florida State Statute states any person involved in a felony that results in a death can be charged with felony murder.”

Gaal, who lived at 5071 S.E. 70th Loop in Ocala, was released from the Marion County Jail on July 9, after serving about a six-month term for marijuana possession with the intent to sell and for violating his probation from an earlier battery arrest.

The other four suspects were taken to the Marion County Jail.

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