• Deputies: 2 men shoot at boy, girl before shouting racial slurs at them in Lake County

    By: Jason Kelly , Myrt Price

    Updated:

    LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Two men shot at a 16-year-old boy and his 12-year-old sister before shouting racial slurs at them near Leesburg earlier this month, the Lake County Sheriff's Office said.

    Deputies said they were called March 17 to Goose Prairie Road near Lemon Street after James Reidnauer, 30, and Brent van Besien, 33, shot at the children, who were walking home from a convenience store.

    Investigators said the men confronted the children on a trail on property owned by a nearby church.


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    Michelle Sabb, the victims' mother, told Channel 9 on Wednesday that her children had gone to a BP gas station to buy candy, as they do almost daily.

    "There is a path behind all of the homes on this road that all the children take to the bus stop," she said. "The bus stop is in front of the church over here on Goose Prairie (Road), and that's the route they take anywhere."

    Deputies said Reidnauer and van Besien fired at least two shots -- one near the girl's foot and one in the air -- before shouting slurs at the biracial children.

    The children, who were uninjured, ran home.

    Reidnauer and van Besien said they had thought the children were methamphetamine users, detectives said.

    "They were screaming, 'They're shooting at us. They're shooting at us,'" Sabb said. "Thank God that they were able to get home, (because) there are a lot of kids (who don't). Trayvon (Martin) -- he didn't make it home. What if my son wouldn't have made it home?"

    Deputies said Reidnauer and van Besien were arrested on enhanced hate crime charges of aggravated assault with a firearm.

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