Orange County man charged with shooting girlfriend in the face

Orange County deputies arrested Anthony Wheeler, 49, shortly after midnight Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018.
Orange County deputies arrested Anthony Wheeler, 49, shortly after midnight Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018. Orange County Sheriff's Office

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office says a man shot his girlfriend early Wednesday morning and then called 911 to report it.

Deputies arrested Anthony Wheeler, 49, shortly after midnight in the shooting of Tracey Hunt, according to a news release.

Wheeler was walking away from the scene and speaking with the 911 center on his cell phone when deputies found him. He told a 911 operator that he had shot Hunt, the release said.

Deputies found her in the couple’s home in the 5800 block of Guess Road with a gunshot wound to the face. They also found the gun they say Wheeler used.

Emergency Management took Hunt to the hospital, where her condition was not immediately available Wednesday afternoon.

Wheeler was charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and initially placed in the Orange County jail without bail. On Wednesday, a judge set bail at $150,000 secured.

“This week, my deputies and I have responded to two life-threatening domestic calls in as many days,” Sheriff Charles Blackwood said.

“I am proud of the quick response to this call of both deputies and Emergency Management personnel, which likely saved the victim’s life,” he added. “During my 38-plus years in law enforcement, great strides have been made in addressing interpersonal violence; however, much work still remains.”

On Monday, Orange County deputies arrested Ryan Cherry Jr., 19, after a domestic-violence incident in Hillsborough. He is accused of ramming a car with two women and three children, including his three-month-old son.

The investigation into Wednesday’s shooting is ongoing, and anyone with information is asked to call Investigator Jeff Ray at 919-245-2975.

Help available

If you or a loved one is dealing with issues of domestic violence, the Sheriff’s Office encourages you to contact the Compass Center for Women and Families at 919-929-7122. The Sheriff’s Office Crisis Unit is also available to assist victims of domestic violence and can be reached at 919-245-2900.

Staff writer Joe Johnson contributed to this story.

Mark Schultz: 919-829-8950; @HeraldSunEditor
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