Family raising burial funds for teen accidentally shot and killed

Pinellas County

Family of 17-year-old Destiny Loper, have created a GoFundMe account to help pay for her burial.

Loper was shot and killed when a gun accidentally discharged Sunday morning.

“She was a smart kid, very bright. A lot of potential there. Had her whole life ahead of her. Just cut way too short,” said her brother James Herring.

Herring said he still can’t believe she’s gone days before Christmas.

“We were going to get together and meet up the other day but it didn’t work out and so we thought we’d get together on Christmas which is not so,” he said. 

Herring read about the story on the news but didn’t realize it was his sister until their mother called him.

“I thought, ‘that’s bad.’ you know and just kind of skimmed through the stories but it came full circle when my mother is actually the one who told me and then we kind of connected the puzzle pieces,” he said.

Officers said Loper was accidentally shot in the back by friend, 21-year-old Jessica Perry.

Detectives said both were riding in a car with a man on Central Avenue and 58th Street when the gun went off.

Authorities said Perry had the weapon.

“She was the one that was responsible for the gun at that time,” said Yolanda Fernandez, spokeswoman for St. Petersburg Police Department.

Detectives said Perry and the man flagged down an officer for help near the police station, but it was too late.

Perry was arrested and charged with manslaughter.

Herring said guns are nothing to play with.

“You know I tell my kids the same thing. We say don’t play with guns. Don’t mess with guns because they’re dangerous but I’m living it now,” he said.

“Heed the warning and don’t mess with fire arms.”

Now he must lay his sister to rest.

“We just want to properly bury her, say a pray and then send her off to God’s kingdom,” said Herring.

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