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Trial begins for accused killer in 2008 Plant City shoot-out | News

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Trial begins for accused killer in 2008 Plant City shoot-out
Trial begins for accused killer in 2008 Plant City shoot-out

Tampa, FL - The all out man hunt on December 5th, 2008 started with a shooting the day before in the backyard of a Plant City home.

Vidal Quejada testified that he was in the backyard where Francisco Rangel shot and killed Michael Longoria.

"Last thing I saw of Michael Longoria, he was clutching his chest and reaching out," said Quejada as tears welled up in his eyes. 

Quejada says he became Rangel's next target.

"Something hit me hard and then I see Mr. Rangel holding his hand out with the gun like this," testified Quejada, gesturing how Rangel was pointing his gun at Longoria on the ground.

During opening statements, Rangel's attorney says his actions were in self-defense.  "The only ill will you will hear in this trial is with Micheal Longoria and Vidal Quejada.  They were both armed and Rangel did everything to protect himself," said lawyer Dana Herce-Fulgueira.

Prosecutor Jay Pruner fired back saying, "Mr. Rangel didn't stick around, he drove away immediately."

What happened next is what the defense does not want the jury to hear.

"Keep in mind, you are here only to decide about what took place at Juanita Drive," said Herce-Fulgueira.

But the prosecution wants the jury to know what happened the next day when the police say Rangel took them on a six hour chase that shut down several roads and schools.

Pruner said during opening statements, "He pulls over in a turn lane and gets out with his semi-automatic weapon and fires several shots at pursuing officers."

During that shoot-out, an innocent bystander, Candelario Lagunes, was sitting in the passenger's seat of a nearby car when police say, one of Rangel's bullets shot Lagunes in the head, killing him.

That evidence is not admissible in this particular trial because this one addresses the Second Degree Murder charge in the death of Michael Longoria and the Attempted Second Degree Murder charge in the injury of Vidal Quejada.

Rangel is charged with more than a dozen charges in connection with the Plant City shooting and man hunt that lasted from December 4th to the 5th.

This trial resumes Wednesday morning.


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