Baby injured in drive-by shooting in Port Richey

Aaron Mesmer reports

- A drive-by shooting in Port Richey sent a 1-year-old to the hospital and three adults in the home -- including the child's mother -- to jail, the Pasco County sheriff said Monday.

The sheriff's office received a call at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday that there had been a shooting at a home in the 7300 block of Westcott Drive.

"My baby was just shot! They just came and did a drive-by shooting in my house!" the mother can be heard shouting in the recording released by investigators.

That mother was identified as Linda Exline, 24, who Sheriff Chris Nocco said is a known gang member.

"She was documented because of gang tattoos and because she associates with gang members," he said.

Surveillance video recorded at a nearby home shows a car drive up, reverse, turn the headlights off and speed away. At some point, a gunman opened fire.

The house is riddled with bullet holes, including several on a window where a 1-year-old girl was asleep in her crib.

Nocco said a bullet went through the child's wrist and six more tore up her crib and stuffed animals.

"The horrific thing is that a 1-year-old got hit. Thank God that 1-year-old is alive," the sheriff said.

Detectives have not determined who was being targeted but gang members are believed to hang out there a lot.

In a Facebook message to FOX 13, Exline -- who has been arrested seven previous times -- denied being a gang member. The sheriff said that's not true and was furious hearing reports that she's trying to turn her life around.

"I'm sorry, it's a bunch of B.S. It absolutely is a bunch of B.S. for these people to be saying this crap," Nocco said. "If you're turning yourself around, really turn yourself around, throw the criminals out of your house."

Neighbors were shocked to hear about what happened.

"Heart-breaking. Heart-breaking. I feel so bad for that poor little baby," said Linda Richards, who lives nearby. "I have two kids myself and what happens if they got the wrong house? My house is very similar and it's just too close."

Sheriff Nocco said Exline has three children, one of whom was removed before this incident. The other two, including the infant who was hurt, have also been placed into other homes.

The three adults in the home, including Exline, are all facing drug charges.

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