Father of suspect in Titusville park shooting says he wishes bystander had kept gun holstered

TITUSVILLE, Fla. — The father of a 24-year-old man who police said triggered a shooting at a Titusville park Saturday during a back-to-school event and peace rally told Channel 9 on Thursday that he wanted to apologize for his son.

Wayne Mitchell flew from North Carolina to Orlando Sanford International Airport, where he spoke with Channel 9's Megan Cruz before visiting his son in a hospital.

The Titusville Police Department hasn't identified the suspect yet, but Mitchell said it is his son.

"I just ask and pray that they forgive my son," Mitchell said. "My son did do something wrong. He did come to that park, where there were babies, children and mothers."

Witnesses told police the two men fought over the gun, which was fired about a dozen times.

Mitchell said he believes his son wanted to scare the man with whom he was fighting.

"Unfortunately, young men in training -- they think, 'OK. I have to prove and show the world I'm no punk,'" he said.

Police said a man who was licensed to carry a concealed weapon shot the suspect twice. They said he told the suspect to stay put, but he drew his gun.

"My son is trying to pull through -- slowly but surely," Mitchell said.

He said he wishes the bystander had kept his gun holstered.

"He could have taken the description of my son, of the car and the license plate and said, 'Here,' to law enforcement, so they can do the job they're paid to do," Mitchell said.

Police have not charged Mitchell's son yet because he is still hospitalized.

The bystander who shot the suspect will not be charged because of the state's "stand your ground" law.