• 11-year-old taken into custody in shooting death of 14-year-old

    By: Action News Jax

    Updated:

    Columbia County Sheriff's Office detectives obtained an arrest warrant Thursday for the 11-year-old boy who they say shot and killed 14-year-old Jadon Vaughn Wednesday night. 

    STORY: 14-year-old boy shot, killed in friend's Lake City home

    The 11-year-old was taken into custody without incident on the charge of manslaughter and is currently in juvenile detention in Gainesville, according to Columbia County Sheriff's Office. 

    According to deputies, Jadon was visiting the home of the suspect and his brother. The adults had left for the evening, leaving the children at the home. Officials say Jadon and the suspect began wrestling to see if the dog would respond to Jadon attacking the suspect.

    After wrestling, deputies say the suspect retrieved a pistol from an unlocked drawer in his parent's bedroom, removed the magazine and pointed it at Jadon.

    The gun discharged and killed Jadon, according to the report. 

    The suspect called his father and told him Jadon had come at him with a knife. The suspect and his 13-year-old brother admitted to placing a kitchen knife near Jadon after shooting him, believing they would be in less trouble, according to the report. 

    “This is a tragic and avoidable death,” Sheriff Mark Hunter said. “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.”

    Columbia County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Sgt. Murray Smith told Action News Jax that investigators are exploring whether to recommend charges for the father and live-in girlfriend of the 11-year-old charged with fatally shooting Jadon.

    The Sheriff's Office says the three boys were left alone in a home with two guns in a dresser.

    If there are kids in your home, Florida law requires you to use a gun lock, keep your gun in a locked container or carry it on your body.

    Smith said the 11-year-old’s brother is unlikely to be charged.

    STORY: Family of 14-year-old shot, killed by 11-year-old speak

    The Sheriff’s Office said the brother helped the 11-year-old shooting suspect place a kitchen knife in Jadon’s hand after his death to make it seem like the 11-year-old acted in self-defense.

    “What just stuns me is that children could have the ability to go to a deceased friend, manipulate his body in a way to make an argument that it was a self-defense shooting. That is just incredible to me and it speaks, candidly, to too much information being pressed into the minds of youngsters that is going to cause us a lot of trouble in the future,” said Action News Jax law ans safety expert Dale Carson.

    Carson said he feels manslaughter is the appropriate charge for the boy suspected of pulling the trigger, even though the Sheriff’s Office said the boy removed the magazine from the gun.

    “Is it possible that the shooter in this case, the 11-year-old, thought that by taking the magazine out of the firearm, that it would not fire a round? Possible. But when you do that -- when you point a gun at somebody and pull the trigger -- that demonstrates pretty clear intent,” said Carson.

    The case is active and ongoing. 

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