Florida man mistakes ex-girlfriend for intruder, shot her

Deputies said the victim was shot shortly after she broke into the Mount Dora home she used to share with her boyfriend in order to collect some of her things.

"She has a key, but he changed the locks and an officer told her that since this is her residence that she is allowed to break in, and she cannot get in trouble for it," said Linda Stevens, the victim's friend.

Deputies said the victim recently moved out of the home but showed up about 12:30 p.m. to collect some belongings.

Friends said she had no idea her ex was in the home when she got there.

Investigators said the victim broke in and went into the master bedroom. At some point, the woman's ex-boyfriend, T.J. Schaus, who was sleeping, woke up and fired at least one shot, striking the victim, authorities said.

"I was protecting myself. I did not know who it was," said Schaus.

Schaus said he was asleep when his estranged girlfriend came to their home.

"She came into the room and went straight into the closet, so I just caught a glimpse of her. I did not know who it was," said Schaus.

Schaus said his automatic reaction was to protect himself, so he grabbed the gun he keeps by his bed and fired.

"I asked, 'Who the hell is in my house?' No reply. And that's where I keep all my weapons, in the master bedroom closet, and then I shot," said Schaus.

He said he quickly realized his mistake.

"Once I heard her scream, I hit my knees and started crying," said Schaus. "Once I did it I felt freaking horrible cause I would never do that to her."

Stevens said she was outside when she heard the shot.

"I ran to the third house down and then I called the cops from my cellphone, but I hid behind the house because I didn't know if he was going to shoot me or not," said Stevens.

The woman was flown to a local hospital with serious injuries, authorities said.

Friends said the victim and her boyfriend broke up last week.

Schaus has not been charged in the shooting. Deputies are still investigating.

The victim's name and condition have not been released. She was airlifted to a hospital and underwent surgery.

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