After an 11-year-old boy shot and killed his teenage friend Wednesday, Florida police say, he tried to pass it off as a killing in self-defense.
That boy — whom McClatchy is not naming because he is a minor — is now facing a manslaughter charge in the death of 14-year-old Jadon Vaughn, according to a police report from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. It happened in Lake City, located about a six-hour drive north of Miami
Sheriff Mark Hunter called it a “tragic and avoidable death,” according to FirstCoastNews.
“Our hearts are broken for both families; one has lost a son and the other will struggle with these events for the rest of their lives,” Hunter said, according to FirstCoastNews. “To honor Jadon, I want to stress the importance of securing your firearms so a child cannot get to them.”
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Police say it was around 7 p.m. Wednesday when the 11-year-old and Jadon were “play wrestling in an attempt to see if the family dog would respond” to the scuffle.
After that, the 11-year-old pointed a gun he got from his parent’s room in the direction of Jadon; the gun went off and the teen died from the gunshot, police say.
The gun went off after the 11-year-old had taken out its magazine, police say. No adults were home at the time.
The boy and his 13-year-old brother tried to frame Jadon as the aggressor by putting a kitchen knife in his hand, police say. Then the pair of boys told their father the fabricated story, police say, in the hopes that “they would be in less trouble.”
However, police say, they eventually admitted that was a lie and confessed to accidentally killing the teenager.
Officers went to the house on Wednesday evening after the shooting, police say, and “retrieved a knife, two cell phones, two Ruger firearms, a spent casing and a projectile,” according to The Lake City Reporter.
“The guns were found in the top dresser drawer in the adults’ bedroom. Both firearms had loaded magazines, but neither had a round in the chamber,” according to The Lake City Reporter. “The spent casing was found in the bedroom as well, while the projectile was recovered from an opposite bedroom appearing to belong to either (the 11-year-old or his 13-year-old brother.)“
The 11-year-old is “currently in juvenile detention in Gainesville,” according to police.