Gunshot victim lucky to be alive, family seeking community support

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Brianna Goble in ICU. Photo supplied by Elizabeth Limestahl.

Spring Hill, FL —In a blink of an eye, the life of 18-year-old Brianna Goble changed when a teenager who lived in her apartment complex inexplicably shot her in the face as she was walking by the complex’s clubhouse. The bullet shattered her teeth, gums, first vertebrae, and exited her neck. Her second and third vertebrae were fractured, as well. According to family spokesperson, Elizabeth Limestahl, Brianna is lucky to be alive. The suspected shooter, a 17-year-old acquaintance, Christian Fitzgerald, shot Brianna in front of her brother. According to deputies, dozens of others also witnessed the shooting.

The Standard asked if the family knew what the motive was. Limestahl answered “as far as motive, I can only tell you that when Brianna woke and was told what happened to her (thankfully she did not have any recollection) – her first questions were: 1) if her brother was okay and 2) why did this happen?
Fitzgerald fled the scene on foot immediately after the shooting leading to a Hernando County Sheriff’s Office manhunt.

HCSO responded quickly by dispatching both K-9 and Aviation Units and sharing updates on its Facebook page. As the suspect was armed, warnings were issued for residents who lived in the immediate area around the apartment complex.

The next morning, Sheriff Al Nienhuis, organized a press conference with a picture of the suspect at the apartment complex. Nienhuis warned the public that the suspect was armed and potentially dangerous and indicated he was hopeful for a resolution without incident.

In under 24 hours, Fitzgerald was under arrest, and as Nienhuis had hoped, without incident. When asked about Brianna and the manhunt to find her shooter, Nienhuis told the Standard, “It is truly a miracle that the victim, in this case, is alive. It is also a miracle that she is doing better than anyone initially expected, especially considering the location and extent of her injuries. Fortunately, the shooter was taken into custody without anyone else being injured and he will have to face the consequences of his actions in a court of law.”

According to the HCSO Arrest Affidavit, Fitzgerald was charged with one count of Attempted Murder with Firearm and one count of Aggravated Battery with Great Bodily Harm. The defendant is housed at the Hernando County Detention Center on a no bond status per the warrant. According to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records, Fitzgerald was arrested three times for battery before.

After the arrest and detention of Fitzgerald, the family can be completely focused on recovery and healing, not only for Brianna but for her brother who witnessed the incident up close.

Goble’s aunt, Cheryl Redden, has set up a YouCaring page to raise money for the family. According to the page, “Her family needs financial support. Her mom is a single mother who has other children at home to care for while being beside Brianna through this tragedy.” At press time, $6,000 was already raised. Redden has indicated that funds will be used for out-of-pocket medical expenses and any other expenses associated with Brianna’s care.

After almost a week, Goble has moved out of ICU and walked her first steps since the shooting incident. The family spokesperson is encouraging all who can donate to do so by visiting https://www.youcaring.com/briannagobleandkarendove-972585

Goble’s mother, Karen Dove, is well known in the Hernando County community for her volunteerism and philanthropy. In fact, according to Limestahl, Dove missed her own induction ceremony as incoming president of the local Kiwanis due to the shooting; she has been continuously by her daughter’s side throughout the recovery process.

Brianna Goble with her mother, Karen Dove. Photo supplied by Elizabeth Limestahl.

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