Police: Hillsborough boy, 15, shot while defending mother

Shooting suspect Ricardo Gonzales
Shooting suspect Ricardo Gonzales

PLANT CITY, Fla. (WFLA) – A 15-year-old boy is hospitalized in critical condition after he was shot while confronting a man who police say threatened his mother with a gun.

Police responded to a call about a shooting at a Plant City residence at 11:42 p.m. on Monday.

When they arrived at the home on Charles Avenue, police found a 15-year-old boy suffering from a gunshot wound to the stomach.

“When officers arrived they encountered a young man lying outside in the yard,” Plant City Police Sgt. Al Van Duyne said.

Investigators say Ricardo Gonzales, 42, had threatened the boy’s mother, April Masias, 32, and placed a gun to her head. He then fired a round into the ground. Investigators say this caused Masias to fear for her life.

The boy was in another room and heard the gunshot. Police say he was fearful that his mother had been shot.

The boy entered the room that his mother was in and confronted Gonzales, his mother’s boyfriend, for assaulting her.

Police say Gonzales hit the boy in the head with the gun and then placed the gun on the boy’s stomach and fired one round.

“It’s really, really sad,” neighbor Theresa Shelton said. “I seen lights and everything and I thought well there’s something bad going on now.”

Shelton is heartbroken to hear what happened, but not surprised by the teen’s actions.

“With anybody he would. He’s a tough kid. He is a good kid. Anything I wanted him to do he would do. As a matter of fact, one day he was walking to school and he got my trash can and put it away. That’s just him,” she said.

Plant City Fire Rescue crews transported the boy to a local hospital where he remains in critical condition.

“The son was coming to the rescue of his mother, and he’s definitely going to be commended for that. It’s just very unfortunate that it had to come to this. We definitely hope that the young man will make a very quick and good recovery,” said Sgt. Van Duyne.

“I just can’t believe it and I hope he pulls through this,” Shelton said.

Plant City Police Department officers arrested Gonzales on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and aggravated child abuse.

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