TAVARES, Fla. - The victim of a shooting on Florida's Turnpike over the weekend says he has forgiven the man accused of opening fire on him and his niece.
Dexter Bernard was on his way home to Miami Saturday after spending the week in Central Florida with family for Thanksgiving when the shooting happened at about 10:15 a.m. in Lake County.
Kwanza Donald was arrested on two counts of attempted murder Sunday after he surrendered himself following what's being investigated as a possible road-rage incident.
Bernard said Donald was driving erratically and when he changed lanes, the man suddenly pulled out a gun and opened fire.
"I didn't even know I was shot, shot at, nothing until my niece was screaming, 'Ah, it's burning,'" Bernard said. "I don't understand why it happened, I really don't.
"We never argued. I mean, I didn't blow no horn at him and he didn't cut me off. I didn't cut him off."
Bernard was hit in the back and his 17-year-old niece was hit in the shoulder.
Donald told Channel 9 Monday that he was suffering from a lack of sleep and low blood sugar Saturday.
Troopers said he never complained about any medical illnesses after he turned himself into authorities.
Donald said he made a mistake and he apologized to his alleged victims.
Watch the suspect's jailhouse interview below:
"I feel great remorse for the family that that happened to," Donald said. "I'll do anything in this world to pay that family back, because I really didn't mean to shoot any bullets at that car when I was getting shot at by other cars."
Donald told Channel 9 that he spent the past three weeks working as a delivery truck driver in Texas. He said people were shooting at him in Houston and during his drive home to Orlando.
Donald said he was distraught while driving home because someone told him that his mother had died. But troopers said Donald's mother is still alive and that there is no evidence of anyone shooting at him.
Troopers said they identified Donald's Toyota Camry by reviewing surveillance footage. They said they found a Beretta 9 mm handgun in his car.
Troopers in April 2016 arrested Donald in Lake County after he was accused of attaching a license plate to a car to which it wasn't assigned, court records said. He pleaded no contest to the charge and adjudication was withheld, records said.
Records said Donald has been arrested on drug and gun charges in Orange County three times since 2004.
Donald is being held at the Lake County Jail in lieu of a combined $120,000 bail.
Bernard said he forgave Donald for what happened, but still believed he should be punished.
"I forgave him," Barnard said. "He said he was sorry (and) I forgave him. But he needs to pay for what he did."
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