DeLand, FL - A 29-year-old Apopka man is due in court later today for the first time after telling the DeLand Police Department he regretted shooting another man in self-defense while trying to break up an argument between that man and his girlfriend.
Charles P. Muise Jr. has already paid a $10,000 bond and left Volusia County Jail on a felony aggravated battery with a deadly weapon charge following the early Sunday morning (March 24th) incident on West Georgia Avenue in downtown DeLand.
City police spokesperson Chris Graham says a 911 call sent officers to the scene near Cafe Da Vinci around 1:40 a.m., finding the victim - a 27-year-old Orange City man - lying on his back in a parking lot with a "life-threatening" gunshot wound to his abdomen.
"When police arrived, there were several people rendering first aid to [the victim], including Muise, who was identified by witnesses as the shooter," Graham added. "He was arrested at the scene."
According to the arrest report, Muise told DeLand PD he got upset when he overheard the victim and his girlfriend get into an argument on the street near where his car was parked while he and some friends were leaving Da Vinci's for the night.
Muise claims he saw the victim "choking and pulling" on his girlfriend's neck and that he "feels strongly" about men mistreating women, per the report.
That's when Muise and the victim started to argue, with Muise going to his vehicle for a weapon after the victim walked towards him aggressively, according to his police statement.
"Witnesses on scene say Muise armed himself with a shotgun that had [a] pistol grip and [a] green laser attached and shot [the victim] in the abdomen," Graham stated. "The shotgun was later found in Muise's vehicle."
Per the report, Muise said he and the victim's girlfriend were in fear for their lives and she took cover behind him. He also admitted to warning the victim to not come any closer to him and only fired when the victim refused to do that.
Muise grabbed a first aid kit from his Chevy Equinox and tried to treat the victim's wound before paramedics airlifted him to a Seminole County hospital, according to the report.
When questioned, the victim's girlfriend denied getting into a physical fight with her boyfriend or that she was in fear of him, according to the report. She also denied hiding behind Muise when the shot was fired.
Police could not find any injuries on her to support Muise's claim. Investigators also became suspicious when Muise denied having drank any alcohol just prior to the shooting even though one of the investigators smelled alcohol on his breath, per the report.