Shooting victim believes he was targeted in hit job

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Newly released court documents reveal a potential murder plot in Collier County.

Scott McCandless, one of two victims in the late-night shooting along Immokalee Road on June 1, believes the shooting was a hit.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office eventually arrested Julian Wolf and went to great lengths to build the case against him.

Detectives traced his movements thanks to traffic cameras and license plate readers. The detectives said he was the passenger in a white van that followed a couple from the casino in Immokalee. The suspects then shot at their black truck eight times.

Scotty McCandless and Amy Chesser were shot at the intersection of Immokalee Road and Twin Eagles Boulevard.

They suffered gunshot wounds to the brain and survived.

When detectives interviewed McCandless, he said his ex-wife threatened to have him killed before he got custody of their children.

WINK News spoke with safety and security specialist Rich Kolko about the investigation by detectives.

“This is exactly what detectives do. They use all the tools that are available to them at any given time. Whether it’s license plate readers, Department of Transportation cameras that are available, security cameras, cell phone towers, they take all these different bits of information intelligence, put it together, build that timeline, throw in some witness interviews. They can get a really tight case on this,” Kolko said.

The shooting occurred two days before McCandless was to get more visitation rights with his two kids.

The sheriff’s office report indicates that Wolf went to the ex-wife’s place of business and got into the passenger seat of the white van used in the shooting. While Wolf’s relationship is not defined in the report, a search for his social media revealed he is friends with the ex-wife’s boyfriend.

Wolf’s 19-page arrest affidavit goes into painstaking detail on how detectives poured over surveillance video and traffic cam video and license plate readers to put Wolf in the passenger’s seat of the van used during the shooting.

Could both McCandless’ ex-wife and boyfriend also face charges? WINK News asked a former policeman and now FGCU professor Dr. David Thomas for a concrete understanding.

“If she was a participant in any way, now, they have the ability to charge her with conspiracy — so, it might be text messages because today, people do silly things — and they get on his phone and they text, and you’re not thinking that somebody’s gonna get a search warrant to be able to go back and pull your records, and so you have no idea, so that, you know, they’re digging through all that right now to see if they can put that package together without the boyfriend. If they can’t, then I’m sure there’ll be using him try to put pressure on him to give her up,” said Thomas.

WINK News spoke with Walter Zalisko, a retired police chief turned private investigator, about the shooting.

“I think the police have a very good case, to go after the ex-wife and her boyfriend,” said Zalisko.

“Normally, in a case like this, where there are other people involved, the police will rely on a lot of the information that the shooter may want to give out, whether it’s to make a plea deal, because he’s not the only one involved, or three people or more that are involved. So he’s not going to want to be the only guy going taking the fall for this,” said Zalisko.

The victims are continuing to recover in the hospital.

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