RIVERVIEW (FOX 13) - An early-morning break-in at a home in Riverview Friday turned into a near-death experience for a 14-year-old who was home alone.
At least two people wearing masks broke into a house on Deep Maple Drive at a little after 2:45 a.m.
Hillsborough County deputies said a teenager, identified by detectives as Markel Cobb, heard a noise and came face-to-face with the thieves, who opened fire.
Markel was hit by three bullets and a fourth grazed his head.
"It's amazing that he was struck four times and he has non-life-threatening injuries and he is stable at the hospital," said Cristal Nunez, a spokesperson for the sheriff's office. "That is a blessing because this could have ended very differently."
Family members have posted on social media about their concern for the teen. In one post on Facebook, a cousin writes "words can not explain how I'm feeling right now. My prayers go out to my cuz right now."
In another post a woman who says she's Markel's aunt gives an update on his condition. She writes "my nephew is a soldier. He is recovering and resting. Thanks for the prayers."
Investigators told FOX 13 the teenager was home alone because his mother is a nurse who works the overnight shift. Markel suffered non-life-threatening injuries and is expected to be okay.
A neighbor called 911 after seeing the criminals leaving the home and watched them drive off in a green Volkswagen Beetle.
"Maybe the suspects thought that nobody was in the home and they were going to be able to go in and take what they wanted and that 14-year-old male came down the stairs and just surprised them," Nunez said.
Deputies said the suspects stole some small electronics. At this point, they do not believe the house was targeted.
That made neighbors even more concerned.
"I was panicked because it just happened in my street and I wanted to know what happened; was [the] crime isolated, or was it something that the neighborhood is getting really violent and we just need to go?" said Valentina Garcia, who lives nearby.
"It's very concerning," added Ron Bailey, who lives down the street. "It's a quiet neighborhood, we never thought anything like that would happen around here."
Anyone with information about the suspects or the vehicle is asked to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.