Monday, April 11, 2005

“Oh, Romeo, Romeo…How’s come you’se called Romeo?”

Not exactly fair Verona here…

CRESCENT CITY, FL — Members of neighboring families shot at each other, wounding six people, as part of a long-running feud that victims said peaked when a girl from one family began dating a boy from the other one.

Six people ages 14 to 22 were taken to hospitals Sunday for treatment of gunshot wounds. Two remained hospitalized Monday, one in serious condition.

Baldemar Riojas, 46, was charged with six counts of aggravated battery with a firearm. He was freed on $15,000 bail.

Members of the Soliz and Ortiz families say their feud with the neighboring Riojas family has simmered for more than a year and became more heated when Riojas’ teenage daughter started dating Miguel Soliz, 15, who was among the wounded.

“All this started because they were dating,” said Melva Ortiz, Miguel’s mother. “I tried to tell him to leave the girl, but you know how kids are.”

Maj. Rick Ryan of the Putnam County sheriff’s office said members of both families had guns and fired across a street at each other.

However, he said investigators had been stymied by the families’ reluctance to talk to authorities. “We get out there and nobody knows anything,” Ryan said.

Maybe we could do a production of West Side Story for them.