Citrus man shot neighbor’s 2 sons, hit mom with shovel, set home on fire, deputies say

Citrus County Sheriff's Office

CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A pistol, a shovel, gasoline and a birdcage were all involved in a bizarre, violent attack at a Lecanto mobile home park.

Williams Gonsisko, 59, is accused of shooting two men, hitting a woman with a shovel and setting her mobile home on fire.

While en route to Citrus Memorial Hospital, 61-year-old Melinda Ward, one of the victims, called 911 and told the dispatcher an unknown man had just shot her two sons and hit her with a shovel. She was hit in the arm and face. Her son, Jeremiah, 33, was shot in the head twice. Her other son, Joseph, 37, was shot in the arm.

Shortly after the call, deputies and paramedics caught up with the victims and treated them at the scene before they were taken to area hospitals for their injuries.

Ward later told deputies she believed the man responsible was still at her residence, dousing her home with gasoline. Meanwhile, deputies received a call stating her home was indeed on fire. Emergency crews responded to the scene and found it fully engulfed in flames.

Descriptions provided by witnesses pointed investigators to Gonsisko, a nearby neighbor. After speaking with Gonsisko, detectives obtained a search warrant and found several items linking him to the scene of the crime.

A preliminary investigation revealed Ward and her sons had come home to find Gonsisko, whom they did not recognize, standing in their front yard. In one hand, he was holding her birdcage with a bird inside, and in the other, he was holding a glass of clear liquid.

Joseph and Jeremiah decided to confront Gonsisko and the three men started arguing. Gonsisko then pulled out a gun and shot her two sons, then he attacked Ward with a shovel. Ward told detectives she smelled gasoline and saw Gonsisko dousing various items with liquid.

Once firefighters put out the blaze, they found several items at her home, including a shovel and a pistol. Detectives were able to positively identify Gonsisko as the shooter with the information they had gathered, and he was taken into custody.

He faces three counts of attempted murder with no bond. Possible arson and armed robbery charges are also pending.

“This case was extensive with a lot of moving parts,” says Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “I’m proud of our team who moved quickly in making sure nearby residents were safe and after intense investigation located and arrested the suspect without incident. They did an outstanding job.”

Melinda Ward and Joseph Ward were released from the hospital. Jeremiah remains at the hospital recovering from gunshot wounds to the head.  It’s unclear if the bird survived.

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