Pasco County men shot with flare gun during carjacking, police say

Local News

Michael LaBue and John Cooke

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla (WFLA) – Two New Port Richey men are recovering after they said they were carjacked and shot with a flare gun.

Michael LaBue and John Cooke were both carjacked in their driveway back in September, just weeks after moving to New Port Richey.

“It was like any other Sunday, we straightened up around the house and were getting ready to go to lunch,” LaBue said.

That day would take a turn when Pasco Deputies say William Gonzales pulled out a flare gun and carjacked the men, eventually leading deputies on a chase. Deputies would soon arrest Gonzales and take him into custody.

Cooke said he was shot with the flare gun and has just returned home after two weeks in the hospital after suffering from several second and third degree burns.  

“The guy was this close when he shot it in my ear,” Cooke said. “There was fire shooting out of my ear. I felt my whole head was going to burn off.”

Cooke told 8 On Your Side he still has a road to recovery when it comes to his injuries, but the two men are thankful for their neighbors and everyone who has helped them during this time.

Friends have also set up a GoFundMe page to help with the expenses the two men will now have to face in the future. Click here if you would like to help.

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