11-Year-Old Boy Arrested in Shooting Death of 14-Year-Old: Florida Sheriff

December 28, 2018 Updated: December 28, 2018
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An 11-year-old boy was arrested in the shooting death of a 14-year-old boy in Gainesville, Florida on Dec. 26, according to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

Carter Palm, 11, was taken into police custody without incident. He was charged with manslaughter for shooting 14-year-old Jadon Vaughn and is in a juvenile detention facility in Gainesville, according to the sheriff’s office in a news release on Dec. 28.

Deputies said Jadon was at the home of Carter and his brother. The adults left for the evening, leaving the kids at home, according to the office.

Carter and Jadon began wrestling to see if Carter’s dog would respond if he attacked him. Carter then got a gun from his parents’ bedroom and removed the magazine before pointing it at Jadon.

The gun then discharged, killing Jadon, the report said.

The 11-year-old then called his father, telling him that Jadon came at him with a knife. But later, Carter and his 13-year-old brother admitted to setting a knife down near Jadon after they shot him. They did so under the auspices that they would face less severe punishment.

“This is a tragic and avoidable death,” Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter said in a statement. “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. To honor Jadon, I want to stress the importance of securing your firearms so a child cannot get to them.”

A GoFundMe was set up for Jadon’s family, which said, “I’m here doing this but times are extremely difficult and I’m doing this on behalf of my sister, as the financial hardship of Christmas has just [burdened] my family.”

“Jadon was a very caring and loving little boy who was ready to take on the world headfirst. I remember him just telling me yesterday that he had got everything he wanted for Christmas and he was so happy,” according to the page. “He loved me and his mother even our entire family to death being that he lost his father to suicide just a few years ago when he was a young boy. I do not expect a lot of donations but anything helps so we can give my sweet nephew a proper burial and tombstone”

The investigation is ongoing, the report said.

“The detectives responded and assumed the investigation. The parents of all involved have been notified and all the families are receiving assistance from the agency’s Victim Advocate and the School Resource Deputies,” said the sheriff’s office.

How to Report Suspected Child Maltreatment

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, contact your local child protective services office or law enforcement agency so officials can investigate and assess the situation.

Most states have a number to call to report abuse or neglect. To find out where to call, consult the State Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Numbers website.

The Childhelp organization also can provide crisis assistance and other counseling and referral services. Contact them at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453). “Every year more than 3.6 million referrals are made to child protection agencies involving more than 6.6 million children (a referral can include multiple children),” according to Childhelp.