Sept. 17 (UPI) — A 14-year-old boy is under arrest in Riverview, Fla., after he allegedly shot his mother to death and shot her boyfriend five times.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said the scene was “one that nightmares are made of,” when he spoke with the press late Saturday night. The press briefing was filmed by WTVT.
Dispatch received a call from a neighbor about a young Black male running through the neighborhood with a firearm. Deputies confronted the child and negotiated his surrender for about 16 minutes.
At several points, he put the gun to his head and threatened to shoot himself, according to Chronister.
The deputies eventually convinced the child to put the gun on the ground. Later, he attempted to grab the gun. The officers launched a 40 mm projectile at him from about 40 yards away, hitting him in the hand and torso, which Chronister described as a “less lethal option.”
The child was ultimately convinced to put his hands in the air and walk toward the deputies. He was then taken into custody without incident.
Officers meanwhile discovered an adult male inside the residence with gunshot wounds to the hands, torso and face. Chronister said it appeared that a bullet traveled through his hands and hit him in the face.
A couple of houses down from the residence, the suspect’s mother was found dead from a gunshot wound in the driveway.
According to the suspect’s older brother who witnessed part of the incident, he was in his room when he heard his mother and her boyfriend arguing. He then heard gunshots and came out of his room to see what was happening. The suspect aimed the gun at him but he fled the home.
Chronister said he believes the suspect shot the boyfriend, then chased his mother to the driveway a couple houses away.
“This family’s lives have been changed forever. When I tell you that this is one of nightmares, this is heartbreaking,” Chronister said. This 14-year-old young boy’s life is over too. He will never see the outside of a detention facility. This is family violence at its worst.”
Chronister described the de-escalation by deputies as “textbook,” noting officers restrained from using lethal force at several points when the suspect lowered the gun from his head or later reached for it.
“Deputies had the intuition to know the young male wasn’t threatening to shoot them,” he said. “They were calm. They were collected. There was no yelling. They established a rapport with this young male.”
Chronister urged victims of domestic violence in the Tampa Bay area to contact The Spring of Tampa Bay, a nonprofit organization that assists survivors.
“All you have to have is the courage to pick up the phone and say that violence will no longer occur to me or my family,” he said.
If you or someone you know is suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.