SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – One man fatally shot his friend while the two were smoking marijuana and playing with a firearm Monday morning, according to the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff Dennis Lemma said someone called 911 about 10:51 a.m. after he went inside a neighboring duplex on Lake Mobile Drive where he often went to smoke marijuana and found a man dead in the kitchen.
The victim, identified Tuesday as Paul Maurice Brown, lived a few blocks away but often visited the duplex.
About an hour into the investigation, deputies said the Brown's friend, Correz Morse, 22, approached investigators and admitted to accidentally shooting the man.
Morse said that he and Brown often met at the duplex where Morse lives to smoke marijuana and when they did so, they'd play with a gun, according to Lemma.
"What they would typically do is horseplay around with a gun at the location, meaning that they would point it at each other, they would pull the trigger. Most of the time, the gun was unloaded when that occurred," Lemma said.
Brown was playing with the gun when Morse tried to take it and during the struggle, the gun fired, killing Brown, according to authorities.
Morse said that he fled from the home and threw the weapon into a wooded area or possibly a lake because he was scared, officials said.
Lemma said Morse is cooperating with the investigation but authorities are still trying to corroborate his story based on the forensic evidence.
"At this point, it's very preliminary in the investigation but I'll tell you our law enforcement officers are trained to be extreme skeptics when it comes to stories and we will do all that we can to kind of
wash that out and vet it out to make sure that whatever he's reporting is accurate," Lemma said.
Lemma said this isolated incident illustrates the dangers of drug use and mishandling firearms.
"Even if this is an accident ... it speaks to the lifestyle of using and selling drugs and feeling comfortable with just grabbing handguns, pointing them at each other and pulling the trigger. In normal homes, that doesn't occur," Lemma said. "That's a constant issue that we see. If we change the lifestyle, we can change all the consequences that are associated with that."
Morse was arrested on an unrelated drug charge Monday. Authorities said Tuesday he faced additional charges of destruction of evidence.