Police Say Man Bent On Revenge Shot Wrong People
Feb. 16, 1988
ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. (AP) _ A man apparently bent on killing his former wife's boyfriend mistakenly went to the home of another man with the same last name, killing one woman and wounding two other people, police said Monday.
''It was a one in a million case of mistaken identity,'' said Pasco County Sheriff Jim Gillum in announcing the arrest Monday of John Edward Boggs, 55, in Vermilion, Ohio.
Boggs is accused of breaking into a darkened mobile home here last Thursday night toting a pistol and a shotgun. In a quick spree, he fatally shot Nigel Maeras, 70, and wounded her friend Harold Rush, 69, and her daughter Betsie Ritchie, 50, said sheriff's spokesman Bob Loeffler.
''None of the victims ever met the suspect, and Boggs shot them thinking they were someone else,'' Loeffler said.
Boggs had recently divorced his wife, Gerry, who had moved from Ohio to Zephyrhills, investigators said. She filed a complaint late last year with police saying her former husband had threatened to kill her and her boyfriend, Loeffler said.
That boyfriend's name is Gerald Rush, no relation to victim Harold Rush. Gerald Rush and Ms. Boggs live in a mobile home, but on a different street from the one where the shootings occurred, authorities said.
Neighbors of the shooting victims ''say that on the day of the murder, Boggs was going around knocking on doors looking for a Mr. Rush,'' Loeffler said. ''He found him, but it was the wrong Mr. Rush.''
Harold Rush, who was in stable condition Monday at East Pasco Medical Center, said the intruder never asked who he was before he opened fire. Mrs. Ritchie also was listed in stable condition.
After the shootings, Loeffler said, Boggs fled and drove back to Ohio. Detectives followed him there and staked out his house for nearly two days before arresting him. He was jailed in Vermilion without bond on a Pasco County warrant of murder and attempted murder, Loeffler said.
The dead woman and the two wounded people are from Granite City, Ill., and spend their winters in Zephyrhills, authorities said.