TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A 16-year-old boy was arrested after police said he shot a girl who got into a fight with his relative near Robinson High School.
Police identified the teen as the suspect in a shooting that happened at about 8:40 a.m. across the street from the school, at Arbor Flats Apartments on South Manhattan Avenue.
Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor said the victim had been arguing with his relative about a marijuana purchase.
The day before the shooting, the victim and her friend confronted the suspect for buying marijuana with a counterfeit $100 bill. The next day, the suspect’s cousin had the victim meet her at their apartment complex, and an argument ensued.
As the victim walked away from the fight, she was shot once in the back. The girl was taken to a hospital in critical condition, but survived her injuries.
“The suspect was wearing a ski mask, so it was difficult to make a photopack identification or a witness identification,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor said detectives worked tirelessly for days to identify the suspect. The teen’s mother cooperated with investigators. They searched their home and found a firearm that matched a shell casing found at the scene. Once presented with the evidence, the teen confessed to the shooting, O’Connor said.
Police said the boy is facing three felony charges, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, second-degree attempted murder with a firearm, and aggravated battery with great bodily harm. He was booked into the Juvenile Assessment Center.
News of the arrest came hours after a 16-year-old boy was shot and killed in the parking lot of a Tampa McDonald’s. O’Connor held a press conference Wednesday to address both incidents and urged the public to keep firearms away from minors.
“We need the community to know that children and a gun are a very bad mix, so we need parents to know that if they have a firearm in their home, to make sure it doesn’t get into the hands of their children, make sure it’s secured,” O’Connor said. “Search your children’s backpacks, search your children’s rooms, make sure that these firearms are not ending up in the hands of children who really can’t make good decisions with a gun.”