Naples man facing multiple charges for Mercato shooting

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NORTH NAPLES, Fla. — A 20-year-old Naples man was arrested after multiple witnesses told the Collier County Sheriff’s Office he pulled the trigger in the weekend shooting that injured a woman at Mercato.

The shooting happened early Sunday morning after a fight between the victim and the driver of a white Dodge Challenger at the parking garage in the popular shopping center near U.S. 41 and Vanderbilt Beach Road, witness R.M. Fair said.

Joshua Morales, a passenger in the Challenger, faces charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and firing a deadly weapon. He made his first court appearance Monday.

The victim, who has not been identified, was treated and released at Naples Community Hospital.

The encounter started with the victim throwing punches at the driver, who is the girlfriend of Morales, according to Fair. Morales opened fire shortly thereafter, Fair said.

Seven or eight Collier County deputies quickly showed up on scene, Fair said, adding that the victim wasn’t armed.

“She was not a threat,” Fair said. “She didn’t have a weapon, she used her hands, and that’s where it should have stayed.”

Morales was released nine months ago from juvenile detention, where he was serving time for a 2013 armed robbery.

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