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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Florida teen allegedly shoots, kills sister after argument over Christmas gifts

A 14-year-old boy allegedly fatally shot his older sister in Florida after a family argument over Christmas presents, officials said Tuesday.

The teen had been out shopping on Christmas Eve with Abrielle Baldwin, his 23-year-old sister, as well as his mother, 15-year-old brother and sister’s children, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said during a news conference.

The teenage brothers got into an argument about who was getting more Christmas presents.

“They had this family spat about who was getting what and what money was being spent on who, and they were having this big thing going on in this store,” Gualtieri said.

The boys continued to argue at their grandmother’s house in Largo — a city about a half hour’s drive from Tampa — Gualtieri said. They’d gone there so the grandmother could babysit Baldwin’s baby boy and her 6-year-old son while Baldwin was at work.

Once inside, the 14-year-old boy allegedly pulled out a semiautomatic handgun, pointed it at his brother and told him he was going to shoot him in the head, Gualtieri said. The older teen said he didn’t want to fight and told his brother to get out of the house. One of their uncles separated the teens and got the 14-year-old boy outside, where Baldwin was with her baby.

“‘You all need to leave that stuff alone,'” Baldwin said to her brother, according to Gualtieri. “‘Why you trying to start it? It’s Christmas.'”

The 14-year-old boy called his sister several derogatory words and told her he was going to shoot her and her baby. He allegedly shot her in the chest around 1:45 p.m. local time.

The baby, who was in a carrier, was not injured, Gualtieri said.

The 15-year-old brother came outside with his own semiautomatic handgun and allegedly shot the younger teen in the stomach, police said. He then ran, throwing the gun into a nearby yard. The teen was taken into custody at a relative’s house.

Baldwin was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, Gualtieri said. The bullet traveled through her left arm and into her chest, popping both of her lungs. She suffered internal bleeding and was unable to breathe.

The wounded 14-year-old boy underwent surgery and is now in stable condition at a hospital. He’s been charged with first-degree murder, child abuse and being a delinquent in possession of a firearm, police said. The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office will review the case and decide whether the teen will be charged as an adult.

His brother was charged with attempted first-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence. Both teens have prior arrests for car burglaries.

“These young kids — 14, 15 years old — routinely carry firearms and this is what happens when you got young delinquents that carry guns,” Gualtieri said. “They get upset, they don’t know how to handle stuff, and they end up shooting each other.”

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