ORLANDO, Fla, – A 41-year-old man is listed as critical but stable at a hospital after he was shot at an apartment complex near the University of Central Florida on Sunday afternoon, deputies said.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said the shooting happened just before 1 p.m. at the Jefferson Lofts Apartments on Loftway Circle.
Deputies were called to the parking lot of the apartments.
So far, the investigation reveals that the victim and his girlfriend met a man in front of Building 16 to sell a gold chain, a spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office said.
The would-be buyer took the chain and ran off with it, prompting the victim to try and chase after him, investigators said.
That’s when the thief shot the victim near Building 15. The thief then continued to run away, officers said. Authorities searched the area but didn’t find him. He appeared to be between the ages of 22 and 28, deputies said.
At last check, the victim was undergoing surgery.
"There was a whole bunch of police officers and ambulances and everything," said Stevie Bennett, who was in the area at the time. "I hope he's OK."
Meggan Gleneski said she heard the single gunshot, and she shot cellphone video of the scene. The victim was shot near her apartment.
"The guy was just laying on the ground next to a car," Gleneski said. "Everyone just said, ‘Someone got shot.’"
Residents were given a community safety alert from managers about what happened, urging them to always trust their intuition and watch out for their neighbors.
Deputies said Sunday night that when it comes to buying and selling to strangers, always meet in will-lit public areas, such as the Sheriff’s Office parking lot or at a library. Never meet at night, and in general, be careful about who you’re meeting online.