SUNNY HILLS - A local teenager remains in critical condition at a Bay County hospital after investigators say he was shot while attempting to defuse a verbal altercation that took place Monday in Sunny Hills.
The Washington County Sheriff's Office reports that Danny Underwood, 73, was arrested for the shooting of Walter Gage Hallman, 18, and is currently being held in the Washington County Jail on a $175,000 bond.
According to reports, WCSO received a 911 call just after noon on Monday, September 4, alleging Underwood began firing a weapon after a verbal altercation erupted between his wife and a group of people attempting to leave a nearby residence.
Hallman and a group of friends were reportedly shooting a bow and arrow in the front yard at 1867 Gap Boulevard in Sunny Hills when Dolores Swineburg, a resident of neighboring 1863 Gap Boulevard, began yelling at them from her residence. As the group attempted to leave, Swineburg became engaged in a verbal altercation with two females - one of whom was Hallman's girlfriend - in the roadway who had exited their vehicles.
While attempting to defuse the situation, Hallman, who graduated from Vernon High School this past spring, was shot in the lower back area as Underwood approached the group and began firing.
Both vehicles attempting to leave the scene were found to have bullet holes in the door and windshield as well.
Swineburg’s statement, matching that of the other witnesses and the evidence found during the investigation, led to Underwood being placed under arrest and booked into the Washington County Jail on three charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, three charges of launching a deadly missile into a conveyance, and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon causing great bodily injury.
Hallman's mother, Gerri Johnson, says her son is fighting for his life - and that stepping in to protect others is very much part of his character.
"We are proud but heartbroken at the same time," Johnson told the Washington County News on Tuesday. "He is fighting for his life - and has a long road to recovery. Our hearts are so heavy and broken. It's so hard because no matter how old [our children] get, they're still our babies."
"One thing that's important to note is that he is a hero. He took a bullet for his girlfriend and her family. Gage has always had a big heart and loves everyone."
Johnson says the bullet entered her son's back and pelvic area and severely punctured his bladder and colon.
"It went into the right side and made its way all the way through the left side and landed back on his right front," she said.
Hallman's sister, Destiny Hallman, took to Facebook to thank the community for their continued prayers and support.
"Gage doesn't even realize what a hero he was," she said. "I'm so proud to call him my brother."