Teens charged, 1 dead in sibling argument over Christmas gifts

Posted at 9:28 AM, December 28, 2023

LARGO, Fla. (Scripps News Tampa) — An argument on Christmas Eve led to a woman’s death after she was shot by her teenage brother in Florida, officials said.

Photo of a house

This photo provided by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023 shows the house in Largo, Fla., where a woman holding her 11-month-old son in a baby carrier was fatally shot by her 14-year-old brother while trying to diffuse an argument over Christmas gifts he was having with a 15-year-old brother who also was armed with a gun, authorities said. (Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Scripps News is not identifying the suspects and victims involved in this story due to their ages.

Deputies with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said the suspects, 14 and 15, are brothers and were arguing about Christmas presents while out shopping with their mother, the victim, and the victim’s children. One brother was allegedly upset he got fewer than the other.

When they left the store, they headed to their grandmother’s house so the grandmother could watch the victim’s children, a 10-month-old and a 6-year-old, while she went to work.

While there, the 14-year-old continued to argue with his brother, eventually pulling out a gun and telling the 15-year-old he was going to “shoot him in the head.”

The 15-year-old told him to get out of the house, and the boys’ uncle separated the two, moving the 14-year-old outside.

The victim, 23, told them to stop fighting before one of the brothers shot her in the chest, according to deputies. She was holding the 10-month-old in a carrier, who was unharmed.

The 15-year-old then came outside and shot the first brother in the stomach. He then ran and threw his gun into a nearby yard before fleeing to a relative’s house in Clearwater, where he was arrested.

Deputies said the female victim was taken to the hospital, where she was later pronounced dead. The first brother was hospitalized and is in stable condition.

The 14-year-old suspect was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, child abuse and delinquent in possession of a firearm.

The 15-year-old was arrested and charged with attempted first-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence.

The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case to decide if they will charge the 14-year-old suspect as an adult.

This story was originally published by Scripps News Tampa, an E.W. Scripps Company.