Orlando couple charged with attempted murder for planned shooting in Lake County neighborhood

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — A man and woman from Orlando have been arrested after deputies say they planned another man’s murder together and nearly succeeded.


The investigation began just before 2 a.m. on Dec. 1 when Lake County deputies responded to the area of Peppermill Trail in Clermont for reports of a shooting.

The responding deputies arrived to find 21 spent 9mm cartridge casings in the street.

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Deputies later spoke to the victim, who wasn’t injured despite 13 bullet holes in his car. According to an incident report, deputies also noted bullet holes in a nearby work truck and a mailbox.

The victim told deputies, before the shooting, he picked up his friend, 21-year-old Arianna Gajraj, so they could talk with each other about issues she was having with her ex-boyfriend, 24-year-old Brandon Pirela.

Deputies say the victim told them that shortly after he parked on Peppermill Trail, the suspect vehicle pulled in front of him as the driver, later identified as Pirela, got out and fired multiple rounds at him from a semi-automatic handgun.

The victim went on to say he immediately reversed away from Pirela and fled the area, but Pirela followed him west on Old Highway 50.

See a map of the area below:

The victim said he eventually lost Pirela and dropped Gajraj off with the understanding that she would be picked up by a relative.

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Over the course of the investigation into the shooting, deputies collected video evidence, pulled phone records, and interviewed witnesses, including Gajraj.

After reviewing the digital evidence, investigators determined Gajraj and Pirela were communicating with each other in the days before the shooting and had actually planned it together.

According to the sheriff’s office, the messages between the two began with Gajraj confronting Pirela about issues in their previous relationship, before they reconciled and moved on to a discussion about a plan to kill the victim.

Investigators say the initial plan called for Pirela to “get” the victim as he was getting into a car, but was changed to Pirela blocking the victim in, using Gajraj and their relationship issues as an excuse.

According to her arrest report, Gajraj ultimately devised her own plan for the ambush, telling Pirela to call her from a blocked number so she could show the victim and earn his trust.

Deputies say Gajraj goes on to keep Pirela updated on their location and even sends him a “pin” so Pirela could find them.

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Based on the messages between Gajraj and Pirela, investigators say they ultimately concluded that the two “acted in concert with one another to conspire, plan and execute a plan to kill the victim.”

Gajraj was booked into the Lake County jail Wednesday on a charge of attempted first-degree murder. Pirela was arrested on the same charge Thursday.

Both suspects are being held in the Lake County Jail on no bond. They have arraignments scheduled for April 8.

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