HILLSBOROUGH CO., Fla (WFLA) –The investigation into the death of a Lithia teenager inside of a police officer’s home has shifted. Now, an attorney representing the officer is giving his account of what happened.
On Dec. 13, Bradley Hulett was shot and killed by his friend inside the home of a Tampa police officer. His friend was using the officer’s personal gun.
“It was an accident that bullet was left in the chamber,” said Richard Escobar, the attorney representing the police officer and his son.
Escobar added that the officer typically removes the clip and bullet from the gun’s chamber when leaving the home. He argued the gun was stored correctly as required in the Safe Storage Act, which is meant to protect minors from getting to firearms.
The attorney said his client did not plan on his son bringing friends over to the house.
8 On Your Side was told the boy broke into his father’s bedroom, which was locked, to look for a plunger. His friends followed and saw the gun laying on a table in the bathroom in a holster.
“The other kids see the gun. They become interested. The gun goes from the master bedroom into the other bedroom where the boys were playing,” he said.
The teens did not know there was a round in the chamber when the gun went off, Escobar said.
The attorney maintains that there was no crime committed on the part of the officer or his teen son.
“He is devastated over the fact that his best friend, his best friend, died in this tragic accident,” Escobar said, referring to his client’s son.
The case was investigated by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and now is in the hands of the State Attorney’s Office.
The Hulett family said they want answers to what happened that day and justice.
“If the evidence supported it, the family would support the prosecution of anybody who violated Florida law,” said Anthony Rickman, the Hulett family attorney.
Both attorneys say it’s possible the teen holding the gun when it went off could also face criminal charges. That is all up to the State Attorney’s Office and what they decide.
“Nobody had any ill will to do any harm to anyone out there. Again, this is an accident. The problem that many people are having is that when someone passes away it’s hard to just walk away and say it’s an accident,” Escobar said.
Bradley Hulett would have turned 16 on Tuesday.
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