SPRING HILL – The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office responded to 6991 Pinehurst Dr. in Spring Hill just before 5 a.m. to investigate a shooting.
Michael Alexander Challis, 34, later died from life-threatening gun shot wounds, apparently sustained in the street and driveway outside of the Spring Hill home. After crime scene tape was taken down shortly before noon, a trail of blood was visible in the street and sidewalk.
County property records show the home is owned by Robert J. Asciolla, Sr., who purchased the single family residence in 2004.
Sheriff’s deputies redirected traffic trying to access the short section of Pinehurst Drive on Thursday morning.
Around 11, two men who live at the residence arrived in a minivan, dressed in the white jumpsuits given to wear when clothing is collected as evidence.
The younger of the two men re-enacted the altercation for crime scene investigators. The man said he yelled at the man to get off of his property, and demonstrated how he advanced from the front door on to the lawn.
Hernando County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Denise Moloney said she could not confirm the identity of the two men involved.
John Pitt, a neighbor who lives a few doors down, said he was up all night, but that he didn’t hear the gunshots because he had the television turned up loud, and is hard of hearing.
“(This neighborhood is) pretty quiet, but has some crime problems,” said Pitt, who has lived at his house for 38 years. Pitt estimated about one out of every four homes in the area are for rent or for sale, and that youth gangs frequent Pioneer Park up the street.
“The sheriff’s office has a problem with them,” Pitt said. “This neighborhood has the highest crime rate outside of Brooksville . this used to be the upper class neighborhood.”
Carolyn Owens, who lives with her sister and Pitt at the residence, said her sister heard the gunshots and thought they were fireworks until all of the police cars showed up.
Albert J. Mathews, who lives across the street from 6991 Pinehurst, said he didn’t hear the gunshots but saw all the flashing lights that followed the incident.
Mathews said he lived in a great neighborhood, and that many residents armed themselves.
Mathews said he believed a father, mother and son lived at the house.
“They’re not the most friendly people, they usually stick to themselves,” Mathews said.
A motive was not available early Wednesday afternoon, and no arrests had been made.
Court records show Challis has been found guilty in the past of grand theft, driving with a suspended license, assault, selling a controlled substance and possession of marijuana.