ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Where did the gun come from? How did it get into the hands of young children, leading to the shooting of a 10-year-old boy?
Those are just some of the questions being asked by St. Petersburg detectives after a Memorial Day shooting that injured a young victim.
Marquis Strickland, 17, is facing a charge of aggravated child abuse.
Police said he was supposed to be watching over five kids in a house.
While many people observed Memorial Day with a trip to honor veterans, or a visit to the beach, a St. Petersburg family worried about their 10-year-old son.
Police said a friend, just 11-years-old, got hold of a gun, brought into the house on 17th Avenue South by Strickland.
Thinking it wasn’t loaded, the 11-year-old fooled around with it and it went off, hitting the 10-year-old boy in the shoulder and arm.
“At the time of the shooting, there were five juveniles inside the house between the ages of nine and 17. The 17-year-old was actually responsible for all of the kids there in the house,” said Major Shannon Halstead, with the St. Petersburg Police Department.
Police spent Memorial Day asking kids and their parents questions, trying to figure out where Marquis got the gun.
They also asked a local reverend to speak to the young people, hoping he could get them to open up.
“I started to thinking about, my little cousin lives over here. ‘Cause I know there’s a lot of guns over here,” said Reshawn Hollis, a cousin of the victim, told News Channel 8.
Another relative of the 10-year-old victim, a pre-school teacher, worries about young people being exposed to violence.
“Even my little one-year-olds will pick up an object and try to say ‘pow pow,’ and I encourage them, re-direct them from that behavior. It’s scary. It’s scary because they’re getting younger and younger every day,” said Tricina Rucker.
An ambulance took the victim to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
He’ll be fine, but this day could have been tragic.
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