An 11-year-old girl was killed after her 82-year-old neighbor became angry. Furious over a dispute, the elderly neighbor gunned down the innocent girl and her father.
Harper Hansman and Guy Alexander Hansman — an 11-year-old Florida girl and her 55-year-old father — were fatally gunned down in their Port St. Lucie home by a neighbor, who opened fire on the family after becoming angry over a dispute involving his dog. The neighbor, identified by investigators as 82-year-old Ronald Delserro, was upset that his dog had been declared vicious following an incident at the Hansmans’ home, Daily Mail reported.
Months prior to the fatal shooting, Delserro’s bull mastiff allegedly attacked a woman inside the victims’ home. Later, Delserro was cited for failure to safely confine his pet behind a fence. During a court hearing regarding the dog, a judge declared that the pet was dangerous. After the ruling, Delserro went home but soon decided to confront his neighbors. He grabbed a gun, went over to his Hansmans’ house, and opened fire that same afternoon.
During the shooting, Delserro killed Guy Alexander Hansen and mortally injured his 11-year-old daughter Harper, who, prior to being shot, dialed 911 and alerted the police. “If you heard this 911 call it would make the hairs on your neck stand up,” St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara recalled, describing Harper’s chilling 911 call. “A little girl calls 911 and says, ‘There’s someone shooting in our house, I think our parents are dead. I think our family is dead.'”
As if that’s not horrifying enough, Ray Layfield, a local contractor, saw the gunman’s wife just after the gunfire and said she had an eerie reaction. “She said, ‘I hope he didn’t do something stupid,'” Ray recalled. What Delserro did, however, was much worse than stupid. It was downright tragic, as authorities would soon discover.
Authorities rushed to the home, and police exchanged gunfire with Delserro, who was armed with two pistols, WPTV reported. According to police, the gunman barricaded himself inside the victims’ house for two hours before a SWAT team entered the residence, according to CBS12.
“Our officers encountered the suspect inside the victim’s home,” Port St. Lucie Police Department Assistant Chief Richard Del Toro explained. “Our officers and a deputy, actually, who was working at the school across the street responded to the scene immediately and exchanged gunfire with the suspect.”
The sheriff’s deputy, who was performing a safety inspection at a nearby school, heard the call and ran across the street, where there was an exchange of gunfire with the suspect. “Our deputy continued to engage him and actually took one of the victims out of the home,” Sheriff Mascara said. However, it was too late for the police to save Harper and her dad.
According to Sheriff Mascara, officers arrived at the scene and found the adult male victim already dead in the garage and the 11-year-old girl, who was originally reported to be 13, critically wounded. Ronald Delserro died during the ensuing gunfight with authorities and was found dead in a second-floor bedroom of the home by the SWAT team, although it was not immediately clear how he died.
Harper Hansman, along with two other victims who managed to escape the house, were transported to the hospital, where Harper later died of her injuries. A Port St. Lucie police officer also suffered gunshot wounds to his arm and chest, according to authorities. He was taken to the hospital as well and expected to recover, thanks to his bulletproof vest.
Port St. Lucie Animal Control arrived the following day to retrieve Delserro’s dog while investigators were still processing the scene. “The dog was declared dangerous,” Del Toro explained. “He owned the dog and he went over there to confront his neighbors and this is what happened,” Del Toro added. Calling the incident “shocking,” “tragic,” and “an intentional act of violence against these neighbors,” according to Treasure Coast Newspapers, Del Toro continued, “You can’t rationalize irrational behavior.”
Indeed, this is not rational and cannot be rationalized or justified. While loving a pet is understandable, it comes with a responsibility to keep others safe from the animal. That’s something Ronald Delserro failed to do, and it’s unfortunate that his dog had to suffer the consequences of Delserro’s poor pet ownership. Taking human lives in retaliation didn’t change that. Instead, an 11-year-old girl’s life was cut short as innocent lives were needlessly lost. After 82 years, that’s the legacy this “loving pet owner” left behind, and it’s disgusting.