An 11-year-old boy has been arrested and charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of his 14-year-old friend, authorities said.
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that the boy was arrested Wednesday. Deputies said Jadon Vaughn, 14, was visiting the Lake City, Florida, home of the 11-year-old boy and his 13-year-old brother Wednesday.
The boys were left alone in the home when the brothers’ parents went out for the night. The children are understood to have wrestled, at which point the 11-year-old retrieved a pistol from his parents’ room, investigators said. The boy removed the magazine but left a single round chambered. The gun discharged when the boy pointed it at Vaughn, killing him, officials said.
The boy and his brother initially claimed Vaughn threatened them with a knife but later admitted that they placed a knife next to the 14-year-old’s body, thinking they “would be in less trouble,” News 4 Jax reported.
“This is a tragic and avoidable death,” Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter said in a news release. “Our hearts are broken for both families; one has lost a son and the other will struggle with these events for the rest of their lives.”
The younger boy was being held at a juvenile facility in Gainesville.
In the state of Florida it is “illegal to leave an unsecured firearm within a reach of a child”. Investigators discovered two handguns in the parents’ bedroom. No charges have been filed against the 11-year-old boy’s parents but Columbia County Sgt. Murray Smith said it was a possibility.
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to raise money for Vaughn’s funeral services.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.