WHITE SPRINGS, Fla. — A 15-year-old north Florida girl and her 11-year-old sister are accused of fatally shooting their 16-year-old brother while their parents were away.
Columbia County Sheriff’s deputies say the girls went to the High Springs Police Department about 10 p.m. Monday to report that their brother was dead. Police called the sheriff’s office and deputies arrived at the home in nearby White Springs and found the boy dead in the living room.
Sheriff’s spokesman Murray Smith told The Gainesville Sun the 11-year-old somehow assisted in the shooting but “she didn’t pull the trigger.” He added that the older girl got the gun from a room that had been locked by her parents.
A three-year-old sibling was in the home at the time and is now in state custody. Department of Children and Families spokesman John Harrell said the agency is working with deputies to determine what happened and to help the surviving siblings.
The parents were charged with failure to supervise in treatment of children. Smith said the father is a truck driver and the mother had left with him on a trip.
Smith said details of the shooting remained unclear Tuesday. “There’s no real rhyme or reason to it,” he said.
Third Circuit State Attorney Jeff Siegmeister hasn’t decided whether to charge the girls as adults. Because of the suspects’ ages, The Associated Press is not naming the girls, their brother or the parents.
Children arrested for crimes and treated as juveniles can be held in detention for a maximum of 30 days.
“Sometimes we can send them home after that, but in light of all of the facts in this case, we don’t have any place to send the children,” Siegmeister said. “I may be forced to actually charge them as adults to hold them in juvenile detention until I can work something out. I don’t know all of the facts yet.”