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Friday, March 01, 2024
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A man accused of shooting at a group of fleeing men was arrested Sunday by the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.

Willard Sanders Jr., 25, was charged with firing a weapon in public or on residential property, committing an act that could cause death and shooting into a public or private building or a vehicle.

On Monday around 6:45 p.m., ACSO responded to Majestic Oaks Apartments at 5800 SW 20th Ave. to a shots fired call, according to the arrest report.

Sanders

When deputies arrived they saw Sanders standing on the sidewalk inside the complex with his hands in the air, spontaneously saying, “(You're) looking for me, the gun is inside my car.”

While Sanders was detained, the driver’s door of his car was wide open. A firearm was on the seat, along with a 12-round magazine and two loose rounds, according to the report. The magazine had seven rounds left in it and three shell casings were found at the scene.

The investigation found that Sanders was at the apartment complex for more than an hour talking to residents near his car, according to the report. The surveillance video showed he became more animated while talking to the two unarmed residents. He seemed to be yelling at someone in the complex who later came into view.

Sanders was about to get into a fight with one of the two men he was arguing with when a white Hyundai drove into the parking lot, according to the report. Two people came out of the car and walked toward Sanders and the residents.

Sanders ran to his car and pulled out his gun. Several bystanders tried to take it but it was knocked to the ground, according to the report.

Sanders picked up the gun and ran toward the victims, who were running toward the back of the complex. Sanders pointed the gun in their direction when a man grabbed him from behind.

The man wrapped his arms around Sanders, but Sanders was still able to fire three rounds in the direction of the fleeing victims, according to the report.

One of the rounds went through the rear window of the Hyundai, passing through the driver’s seat before striking the dashboard. Police weren’t able to determine where the other two shots struck.

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After being read his Miranda Rights, Sanders said he was at Majestic Oaks trying to find out who beat up his cousin and put them in the hospital.

Sanders also said he knew one of the victims may have had something to do with it. He was willing to fight that person, but several people showed up and acted aggressively toward him.

Sanders remains in Alachua County Jail in lieu of a $300,000 bond.

Follow Devoun Cetoute on Twitter @devoun_cetoute and contact him at dcetoute@alligator.org.

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