Four arrested in violent home invasion robbery
Published: Monday, January 9, 2012 at 2:58 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 9, 2012 at 2:58 p.m.
Correction: An earlier version of this article contained an incorrect photo of suspect Christopher Pate, which was provided by the Levy County Sheriff's Office.
The Levy County Sheriff’s Office has arrested four men in connection with a violent home invasion robbery in Bronson that involved the exchange of gunfire Saturday night while two young children were asleep in the house.
One person was injured, but deputies said the man’s injuries were not life-threatening.
Within hours of the incident, Investigator Roger Bell made four arrests. The suspects were identified as Williston residents Christopher Eugene Pate, 25, Jeovany Texidor Ortiz, 35, Janiel Molina Perez, 20, and Armando Perez, 24.
In a news release, the Sheriff’s Office said the four men had a plan before going to a home in the Bronson area. Pate — who knew the victim — was going to lure him out of the house, investigators said, and then the other three planned to rob him.
The plan was derailed when the victim refused to leave his house, but instead invited Pate inside, according to the news release. Once inside, Pate and the victim talked about smoking some marijuana together, according to the news release. Investigators said they also believe Pate planned to buy crack from the victim.
Deputies said that while Pate and the victim were negotiating a deal, Ortiz and Perez stormed into the house wearing masks and armed with a baseball bat and a gun, then demanded money from the victim.
The victim told investigators that Pate pulled what appeared to be a gun from his waist band and used it to threaten the victim, too. Pate’s device was later determined to be a realistic looking toy gun, according to deputies.
The victim said he feared for his own life as well as the lives of his mother, stepfather and the 7- and 3-year-old children asleep in the home, so he began to fight with the intruders to try to get the guns and bat away from the men.
Deputies said the victim was pistol whipped and hit in the head with the baseball bat.
The intruders left after injuring the victim, according to investigators, but Ortiz turned around and fired at the victim. Evidence at the scene showed the shot missed the victim by a few inches. At about the same time, the victim’s stepfather told deputies he woke up and tried to discourage the intruders from returning to the house by firing two rounds from his shotgun into the air.
The victim was taken to an area hospital to have his head wound treated.
The suspects were arrested within hours and booked into the Levy County jail on charges of home-invasion robbery, felony battery and aggravated assault. Ortiz and Armando Perez also were charged with resisting arrest. Armando Perez was additionally charged with violating his probation in a burglary case.