Teen accused in trooper shooting a no-show in court

Prosecutor: 'She threatened to harm herself'

Local 6 News at 5:30p
Local 6 News at 5:30p

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Morgan McNeil, 16, did not appear in court Tuesday afternoon for her detention hearing because the prosecutor says she was at a mental health facility, Circles of Care, in Brevard County.

"While they were doing their investigation, I believe she threatened to harm herself and he took her to Circles," the prosecutor told the judge, who postponed the hearing until she is released from the facility and into the custody of the juvenile detention center.

Brevard County Sheriff's Deputies said McNeil and her 15-year-old boyfriend, Zane Terryn, had planned to commit suicide once they reached her home state of Ohio.

Instead, deputies said Terryn shot a Highway Patrol trooper at a Cocoa-area gas station. The trooper fired back and killed Terryn.

The shooting occurred Sunday night at a Pilot gas station on West King Street near State Road 520 and Interstate 95 in Cocoa.

Brevard County deputies told Local 6 that Trooper Taylor Channing approached a pickup truck driver, identified as McNeil, to talk about issues with the vehicle's headlights.

Deputies said when McNeil went back to her truck to get her driver's license, passenger Zane Terryn, 15, started shooting at Channing, who returned fire.

Both Terryn and Channing were hit.

Channing survived and is home from the hospital. Troopers said the bullet is still lodged in his shoulder.

"There was nothing, from what we can tell at this point, that gave any indication of any type of incident that was going to occur. The trooper was simply talking to them about their lights," Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said. "We don't know what prompted the individual to start shooting at the trooper. Obviously, that is one of the things that our agents will be focused on, trying to figure out what led to that moment."

Terryn, of Palm Bay, died in the shooting. Deputies said McNeil and Terryn were dating and had allegedly established a plan to drive to Ohio, where McNeil is from, and commit suicide.

McNeil took a handgun and money from a relative's residence and had started driving north on I-95 in McNeil's vehicle, according to deputies, and after the shooting, McNeil attempted to flee the scene and struck a boat that was being pulled by a pickup truck on SR 520.

She was arrested and charged with attempted murder of a law enforcement officers and second-degree felony murder. McNeil is being held without bond.

Channing, a longtime veteran of the FHP who has overseen dozens of traffic homicides and training of troopers in Brevard County, was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries to his shoulder area, officials said. He was later released.

"The male trooper who was shot last night at the Pilot gas station is recovering from a single gunshot wound at an undisclosed location," the FHP said Monday morning. "Per policy, he will be placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure when a trooper is involved in a shooting."

"We see a time in our society right now where it seems to be very popular to target law enforcement officers, both physically and verbally," Ivey said. "It's frightening to see our deputies, our officers across the country, who are becoming those targets. And I make no bones about it: You take aim at us, we're going to take you out of the game.

"The thought of that it could be the last time they see their family when they leave that house, they live in a very real and dangerous world," Ivey said.

Investigators will begin piecing together information about what led to Brevard's fourth deadly officer-related shooting to take place this year.

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