Search continues for suspect, 15, who shot father of 3 at party he wasn't invited to

A search continued Tuesday for a 15-year-old boy who shot a 48-year-old man in the neck early Sunday after being asked to leave a party to which he was not invited, the sheriff's office in the Volusia County, Florida, said.

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Investigators said Joel Tatro had organized a small bonfire party at his Oak Hill home for his three teenage sons and their friends when, shortly after 1 a.m., James Powell and three of his friends arrived at the home uninvited.

Deputies said Tatro told the four people to leave his home, and Powell exited the vehicle and shot Tatro in front of his sons and their friends.

"He simply asked these kids to leave. They weren't welcome," said Jennifer Lashway, Tatro's cousin. "A gun was taken out, and he was shot in the neck and a whole family's life has been shattered."

She said the shooting paralyzed Tatro, who underwent further surgery Tuesday.

Lashway said Tatro can move one of his arms, but he has no feeling in it. She said he communicates with his family by blinking.

"We have a letter board," she said. "We will ask him if the letter I wrote -- 'Is it 1? Is it A? Is it B?' And that's how we communicate at this point."

She said Tatro, who works in the construction industry, is his family's sole provider and has no health insurance.

"He can't even go back to his home right now, because we are talking rehabilitation center. We are talking wheelchairs, ramps -- total adaptability for a quadriplegic and round-the-clock-care," Lashway said. "He needs everything done for him."

By Tuesday afternoon, almost $4,000 had been raised through a GoFundMe account to pay for Tatro's medical expenses. Click here for details.

Lashway said Tatro's sons have remained by his side since Sunday.

"They are trying not to be upset. They are trying to be strong
for their dad," she said. "We don't want him to know how upset everyone is, because we don't want him to give up."

Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said Tatro's sons and the suspects all attend New Smyrna Beach High School.

Chitwood said a $5,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of Powell, a gang member who faces an attempted murder charge. on Tuesday notified Chitwood that Tatro's relatives said they have been threatened by other alleged gang members.

"They know where certain members of the family live, and his son can't even go to school, because he doesn't feel safe," Lashway said.

Chitwood said he will increase deputy patrols of Tatro's neighborhood.

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