Homeless man arrested for attempted murder after allegedly shooting at girlfriend’s son

Updated at 4 p.m. with information about the missing woman.

Staff report

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – William Alton Briscoe, 33, was arrested yesterday and charged with attempted homicide and grand theft of a firearm after allegedly shooting at his girlfriend’s son with a stolen rifle.

At about 5:55 p.m., a Gainesville Police Department officer responded to the 4700 block of SW 40th Boulevard, where the victim said Briscoe was dating his mother and that his mother had been missing for about eight days. The victim said his mother sometimes stays with Briscoe in a tent encampment that is about 100 yards away from the road in that area.

The victim said he had called Briscoe about an hour before the incident and Briscoe said his mother was not there, but the victim didn’t believe Briscoe and argued with him. He said Briscoe told him to come to the area.

The victim said that when he arrived, he saw Briscoe walking toward him from the wood line, but then Briscoe ducked behind a tree, and he saw a flash of light and heard a pop. The victim said he initially thought Briscoe had set off a firework and began to laugh, but then Briscoe came out from behind the tree with a rifle and started shooting at him. The victim said he ran and hid behind his truck; he said he heard eight or nine shots being fired and heard the bullets hitting his truck and the roadway. He waved down a passerby for help, and he said Briscoe ran back into the woods.

Officers set up a perimeter and tried to contact Briscoe by phone for several hours before taking him into custody.

Officers reportedly found three shell casings in the tree line near the rifle, along with three magazines that contained a total of 68 .22 Long Rifle bullets. The serial number on the rifle appeared to be altered, but officers determined that the rifle had been stolen on June 9 in Alachua County.

Post Miranda, Briscoe reportedly admitted that he had shot at the victim three or four times; he said he was angry at the victim but did not lose control. He said he bought the rifle from a woman for $400.

Briscoe has been charged with attempted first-degree homicide, grand theft of a firearm, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of a firearm with an altered serial number. He has six felony convictions (none violent) and five misdemeanor convictions (none violent); he has served one state prison sentence and was released in 2021. Judge Kristine Van Vorst ordered him held without bail, pending a hearing on a motion from the State Attorney’s Office to hold him without bail until trial.

A GPD spokesman said the missing woman is safe.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

  • Lock him up forever.

    The crazies are just now really ramping up. Past few years will seem like child’s play. We must continue to hold all politicians and government agents accountable for this mess. Buckle up y’all!

  • He will mysteriously appear in a few months roaming around downtown out on probation.

  • That green quilted garment he’s wearing indicates he told the police that he’s suicidal.

  • Another “Homeless Man” headline, instead of Physco, or Convicted Felon. BUT- article does not say he is homeless – only the headline says that. The actual Arrest Report lists him having an address in Gainesville, and does NOT say he is homeless.

    • Both the arrest report and the article state that he lives in a tent encampment near SW 40th Blvd, which is nowhere near his listed address.

      • I also stay at a campsite in the woods sometimes. Does not mean I am “homeless”. Besides, it doesn’t say lives in a tent encampment. It says “sometimes stays”.

  • The fact that this idiot claims he bought the fun from a woman has no bearing on the charge. As a convicted felon he is not allowed to possess ammo or a firearm under Florida law. This City ambassador has no business in the streets but here in Gainesville Ward needs his traits to promote tourism and city love.

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