Deputies: Uncle of teen shot in Pine Hills arrested, charged in shooting



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Orange County deputies have made an arrest in a weekend shooting, just days after the victim's family pleaded for the shooter to come forward.

The 15-year-old victim was unconscious following his shooting, but when he woke up he told deputies that he was shot by his uncle.

Onardo Bent was reportedly shot going to his uncle's house in Pine Hills Saturday.
Deputies said the shooting appears to be an accident, but they said the boy's uncle, Dickale Cothell, asked family members to lie about it.

Cothell was on probation for a number of crimes, including aggravated battery with a firearm in Hillsborough County.

Deputies said, when the gun went off as Cothell was holding it inside a Pine Hills home, he quickly made up a phony story.

Investigators said some of Cothell's family members hid the truth, apparently to keep Cothell from being returned to jail.  

On Saturday family members told deputies that Onardo was shot in the abdomen as he rode his bicycle to his uncle's home on Leprechaun Way in Pine Hills.

The boy was rushed to Orlando Regional Medical Center in critical condition.

On Thursday he regained consciousness and told investigators that the story was concocted to protect his uncle.      

"The uncle also spoke to his family who were present about the fact they should lie about what transpired that morning, regarding the shooting," said Capt. Angelo Nieves of the Sheriff's Office.

Other family members were oblivious to the fabricated story and held a press conference asking the shooter to come forward.

Sheriff's investigators were back at the home Friday evening continuing the investigation. They said they have not yet recovered the gun fired in the incident and they were searching several houses.

Cothell is charged with culpable negligence and witness tampering. Deputies said other charges are likely.

Onardo remains in the hospital and is expected to fully recover.