A gang member who fired gunshots into an SUV traveling on Havendale Boulevard with a family of four inside has been convicted of attempted manslaughter.
The family, which included 11-year-old twins, were traveling in September, 2018, to a birthday party at a nearby park. No one was injured, but two bullet holes were found in the tailgate area.
Aaron Delaune, who faces a minimum of 15 years in prison, is scheduled to be sentenced on March 6 before Circuit Judge Keith Spoto. Delaune has been in the Polk County Jail since his arrest in September. Jurors also found Delaune guilty of using a firearm during the crime and acting for the benefit of a criminal gang.
Assistant State Attorneys Victoria Avalon and Joe Concepcion prosecuted the case.
Avalon explained to jurors that Delaune, 27, wanted to move up the ranks in a motorcycle gang by shooting at the SUV on a public street.
It occurred on Sept. 1 when the victim maneuvered between motorcycles as he attempted to change lanes on Havendale Boulevard.
“He saw a hole in the group and merged into the center lane,” Avalon said of the victim. “He had no idea that his everyday world was going to change.”
Avalon said the gang demanded an act of violence for Delaune to move up the ladder of the gang.
“He intended to send a message: Don’t mess with the gang,” Avalon said.
State Attorney Brian Haas thanks Assistant State Attorneys Avalon and Concepcion, the Auburndale Police Department, and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for their work on the case.