LITHIA, Fla. (WFLA) – Bradley Hulett was like most teenage boys about to turn 16-years-old.
“He was so excited about getting his driver’s license,” his mom Meagan Hulett told 8 On Your Side. “All he wanted to do is drive.”
But Meagan and Brad Hulett’s son will be forever 15.
“I spoke at the funeral and said Bradley was beautiful happy and kind,” Mrs. Hulett said, “And that’s what I wanted everybody to remember.”
Kindness matters is the message Bradley’s mom wants to spread on what would have been her son’s 16th birthday Tuesday.
“If you could take one thing away from it would be to be kind like Bradley,” Mrs. Hulett said.
Family, friends and community members got together at the Hulett home to honor the teen shot and killed two months ago in a Tampa police officer’s home.
Bradley Hulett died on Friday, Dec. 13. Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies say he was shot and killed in a Tampa police officer’s home in the FishHawk Ranch Community.
“Right now I just want to know the truth,” Bradley’s father Brad Hulett said.
For Bradley’s dad, the definition of justice has evolved.
“Charges, what are they going to fix,” he told 8 On Your Side. “Are they going to bring Bradley back, no. Would they be proper? Yes. I believe they should happen, but they don’t define how I feel, not like I did a month or so ago.”
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, “All three of the teenagers who were present the night of this shooting retained lawyers immediately following the incident.”
Only two of the three teens spoke with HCSO detectives and the TPD officer “has through his attorney provided limited information to our detectives,” a press release from Sheriff Chad Chronister said.
Deputies turned over the findings from their investigation to the State Attorney’s office of Feb. 6.
Andrew Warren’s office released a statement last week saying it is doing a thorough review of the case and conducting new interviews with witnesses before determining whether to file charges.
Rick Escobar, who is representing the Tampa police officer and his son, told 8 On Your Side no charges should be filed in connection to the shooting. Escobar called what happened in December an accident.
According to Escobar, the TPD officer left the firearm, which has one round in the chamber, inside his locked master bedroom.
He said the boys retrieved the gun when they went in there looking for a plunger. He added he does not believe his client violated the state’s safe storage law.
The Hulett family has identified the officer on Facebook, but 8 On Your Side is not sharing his name because he has not been arrested or charged.
“I just wish all that was over, so that we can just focus on Bradley,” Mrs. Hulett said of wait for a decision from prosecutors.
She said her son’s laugh is what she misses the most.
“He’d play video games a lot and he was always laughing with his headphones or talking to his friends,” Mrs. Hulett said.
Bradley also played on a basketball team that traveled to Orlando and Atlanta.
“Bradley was like that was the best weekends of his life,” Mrs. Hulett said.
In memory of their son, the Hulett family is starting the BH3 Foundation.
“The entire premise is we’re going to help kids throughout Tampa that perhaps can’t afford to participate in basketball and athletics,” Mr. Hulett said.
This season Bradley’s basketball team has been rebranded from the Valrico Venom to BH3 in his honor.
Regardless of the State Attorney’s decision, the Hulett family wants to stress the need to safely store firearms.
“I have a weapon,” Mr. Hulett said. “It’s in a safe. I have the combination. I have the key. One thing I can assure any parent when their kid came over here is you don’t have to worry about your child. We value them as much as our own and we wish that had happened with our son as well.”