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Florida man charged with ‘shooting a missile into an occupied vehicle’ causing truck to roll and crash

Julian Mendes-Wolf, Amy Chesser and Scotty McCandless (Collier County Sheriff's Office and GoFundMe)

Julian Mendes-Wolf, Amy Chesser and Scotty McCandless (Collier County Sheriff’s Office and GoFundMe)

A 28-year-old man in Florida was arrested for allegedly targeting and shooting two people in a moving pickup truck — causing the vehicle to flip over and crash — and also “shooting a missile” into the truck while both occupants were still inside. Julian Mendes-Wolf was taken into custody on Monday and charged with two counts of attempted first-degree premeditated murder with a firearm as well as one count of “shooting a missile into an occupied vehicle,” authorities announced.

According to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, at around 11 p.m. on Thursday, June 1, Mendes-Wolf was “involved in a shooting incident” on Immokalee Road near Twin Eagles Boulevard.” Investigators say that Mendes-Wolf “specifically targeted” the two victims who were both shot while inside of a black pickup truck.

Mendes-Wolf is currently being held in the Collier County Jail. Records show that bond is being withheld on the attempted murder charges while his bond for shooting a missile into an occupied vehicle was set at $250,000.

After Mendes-Wolf started shooting at the two occupants, the truck “rolled over and crashed,” Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said in a Facebook Live video, referring to the incident as an “outrageous act of violence” that was “senseless and deliberate.”

According to an incident report obtained by the Naples Daily News, deputies responding to the scene of the crash initially believed that the two injured persons were victims of a single-car vehicle crash. However, the sheriff’s office said that first responders later realized that the two victims were both suffering from gunshot wounds.

The overturned car reportedly left the victims trapped inside the vehicle and both were only removed after rescue teams used belt cutters to free them. They were both transported via airlift to Gulf Coast Medical Center in Fort Meyers.

During the subsequent investigation, authorities on June 8 released a photograph showing the back of the truck being driven by the victims when they were shot in hopes that the picture would generate new leads leading to an arrest. Authorities also offered a $3,000 reward for information leading to the shooter’s arrest.

A GoFundMe page set up to fundraise on behalf of the shooting victims identifies them as Amy Chesser and Scotty McCandless. The page, which has raised just over $18,000 of its $25,000 goal, says they both suffered “devastating, life-threatening injuries in a traumatic incident on June 1st.”

“While much remains unknown about the events that led to their injuries, it is certain that both have sustained brain trauma that will likely impact them for the rest of their lives,” the page states. “A very long, challenging road to recovery lies ahead. Amy and Scotty were both airlifted to a trauma hospital where they continue to fight for the miraculous recoveries we are all praying for.”

The sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to a message from Law&Crime seeking additional details on the weapon and ammunition investigators were referring to when they say Mendes-Wolf shot a “missile” into the vehicle being driven by the victims.

The warrant issued for his arrest states that he did “unlawfully, wantonly, or maliciously, shoot a bullet or projectile from a firearm at, within, or into a vehicle.”

Mendes-Wolf has an arraignment scheduled for July 17. He has not yet entered a plea and it is unclear if he has retained an attorney.

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.