Two newly hired physical education teachers at a Florida elementary school were arrested after the shooting of a man whose apartment they entered, thinking it belonged to someone else, following a night of drinking.
According to the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, Darius Cohen and Akkua Hallback spent the night of Oct. 10 drinking in some Vero Beach bars, local media reported. Afterward, Cohen drove to an apartment complex of an area woman; Hallback waited for her inside her residence. Cohen waited outside for a few hours but eventually needed to use the bathroom, and he contacted Hallback.
Hallback went out to get Cohen, but upon returning inside, the two 26-year-old men entered the unlocked door of the wrong apartment, where a family lived.
“When they went into the wrong apartment, they went into [an apartment with] a couple with children inside of their house,” Sheriff Eric Rivers told WPBF.
Authorities claimed that Cohen used the bathroom, and Hallback got into the couple’s bed, assuming it was that of the woman Hallback knew.
“The wife initially was the one that heard them and alerted her husband; she started screaming his name,” said Sheriff Eric Flowers. “That’s when he addressed the one that was in the bed and trying to keep them calm because of the children in the house.”
The unidentified victim got the two men outside, where the confrontation continued and escalated. Surveillance video showed a fight breaking out, and four gunshots being fired. The tenant of the home ended up with a bullet in his back.
The victim ran to a neighbor’s home for help.
“I woke up to a man getting into the bed, and when I got up, I encountered another man in my apartment, and we got into a scuffle, and I ended up getting shot,” Flowers said, describing what the victim told him to WPFW News.
Cohen and Hallback took off from the scene, but the men were later found. A call came into the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office Crime Stoppers after the two were recognized on its Facebook page.
Cohen admitted to authorities that he shot the unidentified man but claimed self-defense, saying the gun fired while an attempt was being made to wrestle it away. He has been charged with attempted murder. Hallback, who was found with Adderall in his backpack, was charged with possession of a controlled substance. He may also be charged later as an accessory.
Everything was caught on video:
David Moore, the school district superintendent, said during the news conference that he fired both men from their teaching jobs last week.
Cohen, 26, is facing a charge of attempted felony murder. His fellow teacher, Akkua Hallback, 27, is facing a charge of possession of a controlled substance.
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