VALDOSTA – After breaking into vehicles and stealing firearms, a 16-year-old was playing with a gun when it discharged and killed a 12-year-old.
Arrested: Juvenile, 16-years-of-age, Valdosta resident
On May 3, 2022, at approximately 9:05 am., Valdosta Police Officers and Detectives responded to a residence in the 1000 block of North Lee Street, after a citizen called E911 to report a person had been shot. When officers arrived on the scene, they located a 12-year-old male inside a residence, with a gunshot wound to his head. Emergency Medical Services arrived on the scene and transported the victim to South Georgia Medical Center, where he was later pronounced deceased.
Detectives and Crime Scene Technicians began to investigate the incident. Through investigation detectives determined that the victim and a 16-year-old acquaintance, had been breaking into vehicles throughout the night. Overnight the pair had stolen several firearms from inside of vehicles throughout the city. They returned to the 16-year-old’s residence, where they were in a bedroom playing with a couple of the stolen handguns. The gun the 16-year-old was holding discharged, shooting the victim in the head.
Detectives recovered six firearms from the residence, five of which were confirmed stolen overnight.
The 16-year-old juvenile was taken without incident. Detectives worked closely with the District Attorney’s Office. The juvenile was detained at a Regional Youth Detention Center, by the Department of Juvenile Justice. The juvenile has been charged with:
- Murder 2nd degree-felony;
- Cruelty to children 2nd degree-felony;
- 3 counts of theft by entering auto-felony;
- Possession of a firearm by a minor-felony; and
- Tampering with evidence-felony
This case is still under investigation and further charges are pending.
“We are saddened by this tragic event that should not have happened. Our thoughts are with these two families whose lives have been changed forever in just a couple of seconds. I am proud of the dedicated work by our officers and detectives who continued to stay focused in light of the tragedy.” said Chief Leslie Manahan.