On Saturday morning at 7 a.m., a neighbor stopped by Gino and Rocky Colonacosta’s front door to drop off prescription medication that had mistakenly been delivered to his address.
Gino, 73, and Rocky, 15, then picked up .45-caliber handguns, went outside searching for an intruder and shot at a woman who was sitting in her car nearby, according to authorities in Polk County, Fla.
The woman drove away as the pair fired seven bullets at her car, one of which went through an empty car seat and lodged in the driver’s seat, authorities said.
“Our victim was that close to death, and certainly, had there been a baby in the car seat, the baby would’ve been killed,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a live-streamed news conference Tuesday.
The Colonacostas, of Winter Haven, were each charged with attempted murder, assault and other counts, including offenses relating to the 15-year-old’s underage possession of a firearm. The state’s attorney has not decided whether to pursue prosecution of the teenager as an adult, Judd told The Post in a Wednesday interview.
The father and son were being held in the county jail as of Wednesday and did not have a lawyer, according to court documents.
That the pair apparently became so alarmed by “a good Samaritan” dropping off a package that they loaded guns and ran out of their home looking for someone to attack was “crazy,” Judd said.
“Anybody that walks up to their front door — a friend, a relative, a neighbor doing a neighborly deed … gets shot at? What are they thinking?”
The incident may provide an extreme example of the type of neighborhood vigilantism sometimes cited by critics of doorbell cameras, the benefits and pitfalls of which have been debated over the past several years. Critics have raised alarm over the data the doorbells collect and the potential surveillance network they create, particularly as Ring, which is owned by Amazon, has shared footage with police departments. The technology has also raised concerns among people of color about their potential to exacerbate racial profiling.
Most homeowners install doorbell cameras for the added security and to deter would-be intruders. The cameras record anyone who walks up to your door, deliver real-time alerts to your phone, and allow you to interact with people as if you were home.
Judd said doorbell cameras normally help prevent issues like package theft and can provide evidence for police investigations.
“We’ve seen the Ring camera be a huge help in deterring criminal activity,” he told The Post. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
After receiving the Ring alerts Saturday morning, Rocky Colonacosta went outside to investigate but didn’t find anybody, Judd said. When he came back in, he got his father, and they each loaded a handgun and went outside the “very nice” apartment complex, Judd said.
They allegedly walked around the apartment complex looking for a burglar until they spotted a woman sitting in her car with her engine running. She had just gotten home and was checking her emails on her cellphone, Judd said.
Gino Colonacosta pulled out his gun and ordered the woman to get out of her car, leading her to believe she was being carjacked, according to Judd. She reversed, backing into another car in her panic.
Rocky, hearing the car crash and his father shouting, ran up. As the woman put her car in drive, both began shooting at her, firing the seven rounds toward her car, authorities allege. She heard the bullets hitting her car as she drove away, according to the criminal affidavit.
The woman, who was not identified by authorities, reported the incident to police.
“You don’t shoot at people,” Judd said. “You don’t leave the security of your home and go out and chase people down.”