11-year-old accused of shooting, injuring 2 teens at football practice is denied home detention

Oct 4, 2023, 1:22 PM

APOPKA, Fla. (AP) — An 11-year-old who is accused of taking a gun from his mother’s vehicle and shooting two teens following an argument at football practice will remain in custody for three more weeks, a judge in Florida ruled Wednesday.

The child began sobbing after the judge ruled against a request for home detention, Orlando television stations reported. He is charged with one count of attempted second-degree murder.

The child’s attorney, Robert Mandell, did not immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment. But he told WESH-TV in Orlando that the shooting stemmed from bullying, a scenario supported by a police report.

“It’s a tragedy for everybody involved, but this is a problem with the parents, this isn’t the children,” Mandell told the station. “This started with a group of 13-year-olds bullying an 11-year-old. They wouldn’t let him eat, they attacked him, they threw him on the ground, he did what he could, didn’t even understand the consequences, which is clear, he gets in the back seat because he wants to go home.”

A report from the Apopka Police Department said the child had been chased and attacked by the shooting victims, with a witness telling detectives one of the shooting victims had slapped him in the face.

The 11-year-old’s mother and grandparents attended Wednesday’s hearing, television stations reported.

The juveniles began arguing during football practice Monday night, Apopka police said. The younger child retrieved a gun from his mother’s SUV parked at the sports complex and fired a shot that struck one teen in the arm and the other in the torso.

Surveillance video showed one of the victims chasing the 11-year-old before the shooting, according to an arrest affidavit. Someone tried to break up the altercation, but the suspect grabbed the gun and ran toward the two teens, police wrote in the report.

The mother told detectives she didn’t see her son grab the gun, which she said had been stored in a gun box underneath the front passenger seat.

“The mother stated that her son had known the gun had been inside the vehicle, but she had told him prior not to handle the gun and that the gun was for her protection,” the police report said.

She may face a second-degree misdemeanor charge of leaving a gun unsecured, Police Chief Mike McKinley said during a news conference Tuesday.

The victims were taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando. Their injuries were not considered life-threatening. WKMG-TV reported that the teen who was shot in the torso underwent surgery and that the other teen was treated and released.

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11-year-old accused of shooting, injuring 2 teens at football practice is denied home detention