Gainesville police arrest convicted felon accused of shooting prowler in the head

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Police arrested a convicted felon after they say he chased down a suspected prowler and shot him in the head during a fight in northwest Gainesville early Friday.

Police charged 51-year-old Steven C. James with attempted murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Police say it all started about 2 a.m. Friday when James' step-son came home from work and saw two people hiding outside their home. The stepson called James who police say came out of the home and chased the suspected prowlers.

Officer Ben Tobias said James caught up to one of the men and they started fighting. Tobias said James pulled out a handgun and fired, striking the other man in the head. He was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, Tobias said.

Tobias said investigators tried to interview James but he was uncooperative. He said a search warrant found a .32-caliber handgun in a child's boot inside the house, as well as other bloody items.

Police say James was convicted of second-degree murder in 1997 and released from prison last year.

Tobias said the case does not fall under Stand Your Ground. “Had James refrained from chasing the suspects, he would not be in jail right now,“ Tobias said in a statement. "Standing your ground in your residence is one thing – but chasing and then shooting someone suspected of a misdemeanor crime is clearly not within the limits of the law.

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