Mother accused of fatally shooting son in home

FOX 35 News at 5 p.m.

- Police have arrested a woman who is accused of fatally shooting her son inside their Altamonte Springs home.  Officers late Tuesday morning responded to a residence in the gated Oak Harbour condominium complex on Post Oak Circle.

Investigators took Virginia Arteaga, 59, into custody for allegedly shooting and killing Blake Howard, 29, but they have yet to determine a motive.

It was around noon, when officers said a relative called for help, asking them to conduct a well-being check at the house where the mother lived with her son.  "We believed someone was inside; we went ahead and made forced entry," said Sgt. Rob Pelton with the Altamonte Springs Police Department.  Pelton said officers made contact with Arteaga, who was armed at the time.  "She was armed with a firearm. She complied with officers' demands to put down the firearm and was taken into custody."


As officers searched the home, they discovered the victim's body. "Ms. Arteaga planned the murder of Blake Howard and shot him multiple times while he was in the shower," said Sgt. Pelton.

Neighbors expressed shock. "Just a wonderful young man, he liked plants and animals and flowers. When I walked the dog, we would sit and talk and just a lovely, lovely boy," said Susie Kusnetz. "He said it was very hard living with his mother, because he said she was a hoarder and she would just spend money and hoard, and he said he was trying to help her change."

FOX 35 has learned that Howard was a student at Seminole State College and was pursuing an Associate in Arts degree.  "We are deeply saddened to hear of this tragedy. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family and friends. The College’s Office of Advising and Counseling will make counselors available to students seeking support," said Kimberly Allen, a spokesperson for the college. 

Right now, investigators are calling this a case of domestic violence. 

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