ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — The family of 9-year-old Julian Ali, the boy killed in an accidental shooting in St. Petersburg on Friday, is speaking out about the tragedy.
Jakuar Ali said his little brother Julian could light up a room.
“Julian was an adventurous kid. He loved the outdoors. He was very creative,” Ali said.
He told WFLA that Julian’s phone calls are what he’ll miss the most.
“It’s really hard for everybody. If you’ve known him for one day, it felt like you’ve known him for a lifetime,” he said. “He has that kind of personality.”
Ali said it’s been tough ever since he received the tragic news about the 9-year-old’s death. St. Petersburg police said they responded to a call about a child shot at the Reserve at Lynn Lake Pointe on Friday evening.
“When we got there, we found that the child was handling a gun and it accidentally went off,” St. Petersburg Police Department Public Information Officer Yolanda Fernandez said.
Authorities said the child died at the apartment. They also said there was an adult and three teens there during the shooting.
“It was kind of hard for me to wrap my head around him being in that situation,” Ali said. “He is a very smart kid and understands the severity of playing with something like that.”
Fernandez told WFLA there’s still a lot of questions that need answers.
“We have identified the owner of the gun. The owner of the gun is someone who lives in the apartment complex and reported the gun stolen,” she said. “We’re not sure how that stolen gun ended up in Julian’s hands.”
Fernandez said the police department was familiar with Julian because he ran away from home several times earlier this year. She said agencies were working to get him help, so it’s sad to see things end this way.
Ali told WFLA their family can use a lot of support during this tough time.