Man arrested for attempted murder after gun malfunction saves the life of his intended victim


Donteau Ontrais Symonette, 41, was arrested early this morning following an attempted shooting at a card game in Archer.

According to the arrest report, an Alachua County Sheriff’s deputy responded to a call regarding an armed disturbance in Archer and found a victim bleeding from the back of his head.

The deputy learned from witnesses that a group of 10-20 people, including Symonette, had been playing spades on the front porch of a home. Symonette reportedly began losing money and told the other players he was going to get more money. When he returned, he allegedly pulled a handgun from his waistband and racked the slide back, then fired a round into the floor of the porch, saying “Empty your pockets.”

The witnesses said that people started running, and Symonette said, “Don’t run, empty your pockets.” Symonette allegedly took money from some of the players and from the card table. He allegedly approached the victim and started hitting him in the head with his gun, then pointed the gun directly at the head of the victim and pulled the trigger multiple times. The gun malfunctioned, so the victim was not shot. The gun was knocked out of Symonette’s hand into nearby bushes.

Witnesses said that Symonette picked up the gun and sat down at the table, racking the slide back and forth to try to clear the malfunction. When deputies arrived, Symonette reportedly got into his truck and tried to drive away.

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The responding deputy saw the truck driving away and relayed that information to other deputies, who pulled Symonette over and arrested him.

Symonette has previous felony convictions and has been charged with attempted homicide (committing an act that could cause death), possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, and firing a weapon on residential property. He is being held on $350,000 bail.

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.