HILLSBOROUGH CO., Fla (WFLA) – News Channel 8 is hearing more about what happened inside the home of a Tampa police officer the day one of his son’s friends was shot and killed with his personal gun in Lithia.
The case was investigated by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and now is in the hands of the State Attorney’s Office. Speaking with that officer’s attorney he told News Channel 8’s Marco Villarreal how the gun ended up in the hands of his son’s friends and then went off killing Bradley Hulett.
“He is devastated over the fact that his best friend, his best friend, died in this tragic accident,” said the officer’s attorney, Richard Escobar.
Escobar is talking about his teen client and his father, a Tampa police officer. On Dec. 13 Bradley Hulett was shot and killed inside the officer’s home with his personal gun.
“It was an accident that bullet was left in the chamber,” Escobar said.
Explaining the officer’s routine in removing the clip and bullet from the gun’s chamber when leaving the home, Escobar said the officer did not plan on his son bringing friends over to the house.
8 On Your Side is told the teen broke into his father’s locked bedroom looking for a plunger, his friends followed, and saw the gun in-holster laying on a table in the bathroom.
“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 gun fired; the teens not knowing there was a round in the chamber. Escobar said there was no crime committed on the part of the officer or his teen son. He argued the gun was stored correctly as required in the Safe Storage Act; meant to protect minors from getting to firearms.
“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,” he said.
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.
Bradley Hulett would have turned 16 on Tuesday.
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