Search continues for shooter that injured man at crowded Barnett Park

By Jerry Hume and Jeff Allen, Team Coverage
Last Updated: Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 8:00 PM EST

A 27-year-old man was in critical condition hospitalized after shots rang out at a basketball game on Monday night at Barnett Park near the Central Florida Fairgrounds.

At about 6:09 p.m., a fight broke out at the Pine Hills park during a basketball game, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office. The fight spilled into the parking lot, where it escalated. Multiple shots were fired.

Investigators say Alphozo Johnson Jr. was hit and was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center in critical condition.

Two men who were playing disc golf nearby when shots rang out described what they heard.

"Six smaller-caliber shots were fired. I couldn’t tell you what size, but six smaller shots fired by two or three larger shots," Chad Figgins said. "At that point, it was just kind of a scatter; everyone was backing up. I told him, 'Let's back up because bullets can fly a little ways.'"

"Cops showed up probably five minutes after," Jeremiah Garner said. "It didn't take them long," Figgins added.

Deputies say there were about 30 people on the court at the time of the fight and more in the park.

But so far, the search is still on for the shooter or shooters and deputies have not released a suspect description.

“They don’t fight anymore, they throw one two punches and they pull the gun out, so it’s different now,” said Frantz Patrice, who was at the park Tuesday.

Safety concerns at fairgrounds

Miles Varnedore went to an outdoor concert Tuesday night at the nearby Central Florida Fairgrounds.  

“You always have to keep in mind what’s safe, what’s smart, and I think in the case of this concert over here – there’s security, we have to get a metal-detector check,” Varnedore said.

Metal-detectors are just one part of the fairground’s security. Central Florida Fairground’s director of operations, Will Price, said he believes crime near the fairgrounds – including a shooting at a nearby gas station last year – has scared some people away from events.

Price said the Central Florida Fair lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in decreased fair attendance last year.

With the fair in March, Price he said safety is a concern.  He says the fairgrounds spends more than a fourth of its budget on security.

“I think it’s very cool they put such a high value on life,” said Varnedore.

Debriana Love traveled from Gainesville to go to Tuesday night’s concert. She said she was surprised to hear about the shooting at Barnett Park the night before. But she said the security at the fairgrounds makes her feel safe.

“The security was out already and they’re patrolling so that’s good,” said Love.

Anyone with information about the Barnett Park shooting is asked to call Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).