PLANT CITY, FL (WFLA) – A 72-year-old man was shot in his own driveway during a botched robbery attempt late Thursday night. Three gunmen are still on the loose.
The victim, John Barnes, is hospitalized at Lakeland Regional Medical Center. He is expected to be ok.
Barnes told News Channel 8 he was just a random target. Plant City police said, at this point, they have no motive, no leads and no suspects.
Barnes said crooks will do anything to get money, even shoot the elderly. He has the nicest house on Allen Street. He likes to dress well. He has a collection of jewelry and he’s not afraid to show it all off.
“I am a good man and everything I got I worked hard for,” Barnes said.
He talked to News Channel 8 from his hospital bed. “You never know,” Barnes said. “You never know, man.”
It was just before midnight Thursday when Barnes pulled into his driveway. When he exited his vehicle, three people got out of the car behind him.
They told him to “give it up.” Instead, Barnes ran. The suspects shot him several times.
His family can’t understand why.
“I don’t see why because, my cousin, he doesn’t mess with anybody,” a cousin named Mickey Simmons said. “He’s a sweetheart. It shocked me when I found out he got shot.”
“They suspect they (the elderly) have some cash money,” said Kenneth Glover, the victim’s brother-in-law. “They’re coming in to try and take it.”
Glover said the elderly have become easy targets in Plant City. He said a 75-year-old person was robbed in recent weeks.
“Elderly folks are being targeted for strong-arm robbery,” Glover added.
As for Barnes, his family just hopes he comes home soon. “Yeah, I pray that he get well and come on back home with his family, which is us,” Simmons said.
Barnes believes God was looking after him. “Yeah, I believe in God. I pray every day … every day and every night.”
In the end, the suspects got away with nothing. Plant City police are working to track them down.
Barnes could go home from the hospital as early as Saturday.
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $3,000 for information that leads to arrest of the suspects. Call 1-800-873-TIPS (8477) or go to www.crimestopperstb.com. You can remain anonymous.
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