Cape Coral man turns himself in after New Years Eve party shooting
CAPE CORAL, Fla. - It's a cautionary tale for anyone with a gun. A 20-year-old with dreams of joining the military is now in a wheelchair for life. All because of a careless friend.
Behind spring flowers at a Fort Myers home on Ellen Avenue, there's a family of five changed forever.
"We were floored that it was somebody so close, so young," said Dawn Louchart.
The house is where 18-year-old Evan Vernadakis lived until a New Year's Eve party at another friend's home went horribly wrong. Police say his friend, 20-year-old Michael Korf, accidentally shot Vernadakis in the chest. The bullet clipped his lung, struck his spinal cord and left Vernadakis paralyzed from the waist down. Neighbors Cheyenne and Dawn have known the family for years.
"Just shocked and in disbelief that could have happened to somebody," said Cheyenne, 20.
Mom Dawn added, "I couldn't believe a friend had did that to him!"
On Tuesday, police say Korf finally turned himself in. But officers had been investigating since January 1. That's when a call from Cape Coral Hospital came in that Vernadakis' friends brought him there the day after the shooting.
"I think they were worried about getting in trouble for what happened," explained Lt. Tony Sizemore, the PIO for the Cape Coral Police Department. "The victim was placed on a couch for some period of time then moved to a bathtub."
Friends say Vernadakis has been living at his grandma's house since the accident.
"His spirits are high," said Dawn. "He jokes, he plays. He's trying to adjust to a new way of living."
Leaving many with questions like, "Who's was the gun?" asked Dawn. "Who did the gun belong to?Why was it out in the first place?"
And policing reminding anyone with a gun that it can have life-altering consequences.
"This is quite an example of irresponsible gun ownership and handling," said Lt. Sizemore.
Korf is charged with using a gun under the influence of alcohol, firing a gun inside a home and crimes against a person. He bonded out of the Lee County jail on Wednesday.