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Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014
Crime & Courts

Family seeks justice in shooting of pregnant woman

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Published:   |   Updated: July 28, 2014 at 08:45 PM

A day after her sister died from a gunshot wound to the head, Kayleigh Bryan says her family is “destroyed” and wants charges brought against the man deputies say fired the fatal shot.

“I feel it was pure negligence,” said Bryan, 27, of the weekend shooting in Brooksville that ended the life of both her sister, Katherine Hoover, 25, and Hoover’s unborn boy. “How can someone blatantly bring out a loaded gun in front of a pregnant woman? How could you not check a gun before you brought it out and made sure it wasn’t loaded?”

Hoover, who was five months pregnant, and her husband Carson Hoover were visiting the Brooksville home of William DeHayes on Saturday afternoon when DeHayes began showing the couple his gun collection, according to Hernando County Sheriff’s Office deputies. Somehow, a .22 caliber revolver went off, striking Hoover in the head.

Hoover was taken to Bayfront Health Brooksville and then airlifted to Regional Medical Center Bayfront, deputies say. The child was removed from his mother’s womb at 7:54 p.m., deputies say, and was pronounced dead at 8:35 p.m. Hoover died at about 3 a.m. Sunday.

On Sunday, deputies said the shooting appeared to be accidental. On Monday, the sheriff’s office said deputies are still looking into the case.

“The investigation is still ongoing,” said Hernando County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Denise Maloney in an email when informed the family wants to see DeHayes charged and is seeking answers to questions they have about the shooting. “Once they have completed what they need to do on this end, they will present the case to the State Attorney’s Office to determine if charges will be filed.”

Efforts to reach DeHayes or his family have been unsuccessful. A van was parked outside Dehayes’ home on Suncrest Drive in Brooksville on Monday but no one answered the door.

Kayleigh Bryan said her younger sister had gone shopping Saturday for baby clothes with her husband.

The baby, she said, was going to be named Rehlin Lee Hoover.

“My sister was ecstatic to be a mom again,” Bryan said. “She could not wait — could not wait to have this baby.”

Four hours later, the gun went off and the bullet pierced Hoover’s skull.

Bryan said Carson Hoover told her her sister had never met DeHayes but that moments after arriving at his house, he began showing off his weapons.

DeHayes first displayed a shotgun, which he checked to see if it was loaded, Bryan said Carson Hoover told her. Then DeHayes brought out the revolver, she said Carson Hoover told her.

“When he was handing the gun to Carson, that’s when it went off,” Bryan said. “That is what Carson has told us.”

Efforts to reach Carson Hoover have been unsuccessful.

Hearing the DeHayes family tell a Fox television reporter that they are in pain outraged Bryan, Bryan said.

“You can’t feel pain until you see your dying sister, laying in bed, hooked up to a ventilator fighting for her life,” said Bryan, choking back tears during a telephone interview. “She was fighting for her life. The longest 21 minutes of my life was after they unhooked her from the ventilator. That girl fought to stay alive for us. He took years away from us.”

Katherine Hoover was born in Patchogue, a suburb of New York City, and moved with her family to New Port Richey about 20 years ago, Bryan said.

The family came south as her grandparents were getting older, she said.

“At the time my grandparents were getting sick and we needed to be there for them,” says Bryan.

As she grew up, Hoover developed a bond with pets, her sister said.

“She had a love for animals that goes beyond the reach of the of the stars,” said Bryan. “She had pets. We all had pets.”

Bryan graduated from Gulf High School and eventually met Carson Hoover through an online dating site, Bryan said. They fell in loved and got married last December, she said.

Katherine Hoover had just enrolled in Pasco-Hernando State College, where she was planning to study criminal justice, Bryan said.

haltman@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7629

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