Jacksonville, FL – One of two Florida fathers who shot at one another and wounded each other’s daughters during a road-rage incident last year will not be criminally charged, prosecutors have determined.
The man being charged is not the man who opened fire first.
Prosecutors said 36-year-old William Hale was the primary aggressor during the Oct. 8, 2022 shootout, WJXX reported.
The rolling gunbattle occurred on U.S. 1 near Callahan at approximately 6 p.m., WJXT reported.
Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said at the time that according to witnesses, the “cat-and-mouse-game” involved a Nissan Murano with three occupants and a Dodge Ram pickup truck with five occupants.
The driver behind the wheel of the Nissan Murano was later identified as 44-year-old Frank Gilliard Allison, and the driver of the Dodge Ram was identified as Hale.
The incident began in Duval County, when Hale and Murano allegedly began “speeding, driving erratically, and brake-checking each other,” Sheriff Leeper said, according to WJXT.
Witnesses said the passengers in one of the vehicles began making obscene gestures at the occupants of the other vehicle and even threw a water bottle at the other car at one point, WOKV reported.
“According to the Nissan driver, Allison, the water bottle did not hurt him or cause him to lose control of vehicle,” Sheriff Leeper noted, according to WJXT.
Investigators said that Allison ultimately opened fire on Hale’s pickup, then sped off ahead of him.
Allison allegedly told police he only fired his gun in an attempt to “get out of the whole situation,” Sheriff Leeper said.
Hale said he “heard a loud ‘pow’ but didn’t really think nothing of it until everyone started freaking out in the back seat,” Sheriff Leeper said.
That’s when he realized his five-year-old daughter had been shot in the leg, WJAX reported.
Hale immediately stomped on the accelerator and caught back up to the Nissan Murano, then fired multiple rounds at the car, according to Sheriff Leeper.
“According to the Dodge driver, he shot everything that was in the magazine — seven or eight rounds,” the sheriff noted, according to WJXT.
One of the bullets went into Allison’s car and hit a 14-year-old girl in the back, collapsing her lung.
The teen is Allison’s daughter, WJAX reported.
The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) said it received multiple 911 calls from the occupants of both vehicles advising that their daughters had been shot, WOKV reported.
The men both continued driving northbound until they spotted a NCSO patrol vehicle, according to WJXT.
They then pulled over, got out of their respective vehicles, and began arguing and physically fighting with one another, Sheriff Leeper said.
The deputy ended up having to jump into the fray to break up the brawl, according to the sheriff.
Sheriff Leeper said both wounded girls were rushed to a local hospital, WJXT reported.
Both children survived the ordeal, according to WJXX.
“What is scarier than one crazy driver with a gun? Two crazy drivers with a gun,” Sheriff Leeper said, according to WJXT. “Thankfully, no one was killed in this incident. But it could have been very easily turned out that way because two people were acting stupid and let their tempers get the best of them.”
“There could have been two dead kids because of two stupid grown men,” he added.
Deputies arrested Hale and Allison and booked them into the Nassau County jail on attempted murder charges.
But prosecutors ultimately determined that only one of the two suspects will be criminally charged.
They said Hale threw a water bottle at Allison’s vehicle and attempted to run him off the road, resulting in Allison firing a gun at Hale’s vehicle.
Although he was first to open fire, Allison’s use of force was justifiable because Hale was the primary aggressor, according to prosecutors.
Court documents alleged Hale drove his truck “in a reckless threatening or intimidating manner, which created a well-founded fear in Frank Allison that violence was imminent,” WJXX reported.
Prosecutors described the water bottle Hale allegedly hurled at Allison’s vehicle as “a stone or other hard substance…which would produce the death or great bodily harm.”
Those factors resulted in Allison’s use of force being justified because he “reasonably believe[d] that using or threatening to use deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm,” WJXX reported.
Prosecutors acknowledged that both men and their families provided investigators with “accounts that were mostly aligned with the interests of their respective side.”
They said a witness who saw what transpired prior to the shooting was the most reliable individual involved in the case.
The witness did not see the actual shooting, according to WJXX.
Prosecutors said it was clear Allison was trying to flee from the confrontation.
Hale has been charged with a total of seven counts, including attempted murder, shooting or throwing deadly missiles, and aggravated assault, WJXX reported.
His arraignment is scheduled for April 20.