William Copeland, 20, allegedly shot his ex-girlfriend’s father May 18.
Accursio Claudio Venezia, owner of the two-story, tidy house at 49 Leidel Drive, was upstairs watching TV when he heard the doorbell ring. It was 11:30 p.m. May 18. His wife, his two children and his granddaughter were with him in the home.
By the time he had descended the stairs, his 19-year-old daughter, Corina, was already there, looking out the window to see who it could be.
Then it happened. Three gunshots shattered the sliding glass door behind him, across the main floor. One bullet hit the refrigerator. Another lodged into the baseboard just to the left of the front door. And another took Venezia down.
Venezia’s wife, Josephine, and Corina cried in terror and rushed to call 911.
Meanwhile, Tristan, a 15-year-old boy, worked to save his father’s life, pressing towels to Venezia’s chest to slow the bleeding until he was flown to Halifax Hospital, in Daytona Beach.
According to a website set up to raise funds for the family, “After going through surgery to repair arteries and removing a piece of his lung, he is slowly recovering.” Friends and family and the Calvary Christian Center are organizing the effort.
The night of May 18, Corina was sure who had done this: William Copeland.
Copeland, 20, and Corina Venezia, 19, have an 11-month-old child together, Gianna. They have had a rocky relationship since Copeland was 16 and Venezia was 15. In the summer of 2009 and again in the summer of 2010, Copeland was jailed for violating an injunction, which was ordered after documented cases of domestic violence.
But a few weeks ago, Venezia petitioned for the injunction to be dropped, and at 3 p.m. May 18, Venezia called Copeland to ask for money for their daughter. They argued. According to Venezia, the phone call ended with Copeland saying, “Wait and see what’s going to happen with your family.”
After the gunshots at 11:30 p.m., deputies drove to Copeland’s home address, 29 Bunker View Drive. Just before they arrived, at 11:57 p.m., a Jeep Grand Cherokee pulled into the driveway. Copeland was one of the passengers.
According to driver Shaun Fuller, Copeland asked for a ride to his girlfriend’s house but asked to be dropped off at Lakeview and Laramie drives. He planned to cut through the abandoned golf course to reach the Venezia residence, rather than come to the front door, because “his girlfriend’s parents didn’t like him. Fuller told deputies that he noticed Copeland wearing a bag of some sort as he disappeared into golf course.
When questioned that night, Copeland said the bag contained a video game controller, which he said he gave to a friend later that night.
Without anything more to go on, the deputies released Copeland that night. It wasn’t until the next day when deputies were able to interview Copeland’s friend, who showed deputies the bag and said he had not yet opened it. Inside was a .32 caliber handgun — the same kind of ammunition used on the Venezia home.
In addition, deputies reported that a K-9 confirmed a trail from Lakeview and Laramie all the way to the Venezia home. Deputies were able to secure a warrant.
By then, however, Copeland had fled.
A search featuring the cooperation of the U.S. Marshal’s Service, the Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force and the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Crime Suppression Team resulted in Copeland’s arrest at about 6:45 p.m. May 21, without incident, in Daytona Beach. He was held by Volusia County Corrections temporarily and is now at the Flagler County Inmate Facility, where is he is being held without bail on charges of attempted homicide and shooting into a building.
For more information about how to help the Venezias, visit www.VeneziaFamily.com.