Apopka, Florida: An 11-year-old shot and injured two 13-year-olds at a football practice after they got into an argument that started over a bag of chips, police in Florida said.
The three boys were at a Pop Warner practice at a rec center on Monday evening in Apopka, Florida. Witnesses told police that after arguing about the chips, the older boys chased and attacked the 11-year-old. The younger child then retrieved a gun from his mother's car.
Police said surveillance video showed the older kids chasing the 11-year-old toward the car and the boy reaching into the SUV, where his mother kept a handgun under the passenger seat. One of the 13-year-olds began walking away; the 11-year-old allegedly shot him from behind. The bullet hit one teen in the back, exited, and hit the other in the elbow, police said.
"What makes an 11-year-old feel a necessity to grab a firearm and end this altercation is beyond me," said Apopka Police Chief Michael McKinley told reporters in Apopka, a city northwest of Orlando.
When police arrived at the rec center just before 8:30pm, a large crowd surrounded one of the 13-year-olds, who was lying on the ground. The 11-year-old was at his mother's car, crying and "highly emotional," a police officer wrote in the arrest affidavit. The handgun was in the car.
The victims were taken to the hospital, where one underwent surgery. On Wednesday, a police spokesperson said one had been released and the other remained hospitalized. Both were expected to survive, police said.
The 11-year-old was charged with attempted second-degree murder. McKinley said police also planned to charge his mother for having the firearm unsecured in the car, where it was in an unlocked box under the passenger seat. Police did not release the names of the minors or the boy's mother.
The boy's mother said she had heard afterward that the older boys had knocked a bag of chips out of her son's hands and had hit him, according to the affidavit.
McKinley said local police see children get access to firearms "way too often."
"The more disturbing part is that they believe that that gun, that firearm, is a resolution to their problems. And it's not a resolution to anybody's problems. It just creates more problems," he said.
Police said the child's mother told them she didn't see her son grab the gun when he opened the car door. She was sitting inside the vehicle, waiting to pick up her children from practice, and saw him run over looking upset. She thought he was getting in the car, according to the affidavit.
"For all the parents out there, you have a firearm in your car, a firearm in your house, you have a responsibility to make sure that that firearm is secure and not accessible to our youth or your juveniles, your children," McKinley said at the news conference, "because it only takes one bad decision in a split second to ruin their lives."