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Palm Harbor man sentenced for firing into neighbor’s home, bullet struck the bedroom wall

Pinellas County

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (WFLA) – A Palm Harbor man is facing jail time for shooting into his neighbors home while they were inside.

The couple, John and Angie Smith, believe they were targeted.

Stephen Jonas was arrested in 2017 after Pinellas County deputies said he shot into The Smith’s home in the early morning hours on November 12.

Investigators said he used an AR 15 rifle and fired off 20 rounds.

Three bullets went into the Smith’s fence.

One went into the bedroom wall.

John Smith, a veterinarian, who frequently looked after Jonas’s dogs said he put Rocky down because he was sick.

He said he doesn’t believe Jonas was mentally ready to lose his dog.

Jonas, a retired military veteran, suffers from PTSD, and he said he was on medications the night of the incident.

Around 3 a.m. Sunday morning, deputies responded to multiple reports of shots fired in the area of County Road 1 and Curlew Road.

When responding officers arrived at the scene, they also heard gunshots, which they say sounded like they came from a rifle.  They determined the shots came from a nearby residence.

Deputies set up a perimeter and spent eight hours trying to contact the homeowner, later identified as Stephen Jonas.

Around 11:22 a.m. Sunday, Jonas finally walked out of his home and was taken into custody, the arrest report states.

While in custody, Jonas told detectives he was shooting rats in his backyard, but then admitted he 
wanted to give his deceased dog, Rocky a 21 gun salute.

The Smiths do not believe this was an accident.

“My home is my safe place. my safe place was shattered as the window in my home by Mr. Jonas. I no longer go outside without looking at his house to make sure there’s no one there,” said Angie Smith.

Jonas did make a statement in court apologizing and asked the judge for another chance.

The Smith’s said they’re not trying to ruin Jonas’s life, but he needs to held accountable.

The judge ordered Jonas to two years in prison and ten years probation.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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