An elderly Florida man was carrying his legal .38 caliber revolver in his vehicle Sunday evening when a robber with a criminal past decided he’d make an easy target.
But James Stevens of Ocala wasn’t an easy target, because he had the means to defend himself.
“I didn’t want to shoot him, but I had to. I shot him,” Stevens told Marion County Sheriff’s deputies after being confronted by his alleged would-be attacker, 28-year-old Lonnie Lorenza Hollingsworth Jr.
According to deputies’ reports, Stevens said the alleged perp tailed him for about 20 minutes in a vehicle as Stevens drove toward his home. Not wanting to lead someone with possible evil intent directly to his house, Stevens said he instead chose to pull over in a field and see if, just maybe, he was letting his suspicion get the better of him. Maybe it was just coincidence that a 2010 Kia had been tailing him for nearly half an hour.
It wasn’t coincidence. When Stevens pulled over, the Kia pulled over, too. A man, Hollingsworth, allegedly got out. Stevens told the cops that Hollingsworth demanded “everything you got.”
Well, he got it. Deputies discovered four of the gun’s chambers had been emptied. Hollingsworth was shot once in the abdomen. Residents nearby called the shooting in under the presumption that Hollingsworth, now lying motionless in the same field where he’d evidently hoped to take advantage of an old man, had already died. He was instead taken to an Ocala hospital where he was listed in critical condition.
Although unarmed during the alleged robbery attempt, local reports reveal Hollingsworth to have had numerous prior encounters with law enforcement, including a 2008 conviction for altering the serial number on a firearm.
Stevens was not charged in the self-defense shooting. No word on how Hollingsworth’s hospital bill will be paid.