POLK COUNTY, Fla. – A man and woman accused of setting up a drug deal with a 15-year-old boy and then shooting him during the transaction have been taken into custody, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies said the boy was shot twice Tuesday in the area of Hampstead Place in Lake Wales. He was airlifted to an area hospital, where he is in stable condition.
Records show deputies learned during the investigation that the victim had been communicating on Snapchat about buying eight grams of marijuana with a user named BellaMia0314, later identified as 18-year-old Bellamia Sperandio.
Sperandio and her boyfriend, 20-year-old Marshall Hayes, drove to the victim’s neighborhood to conduct the drug deal but at some point an altercation ensued and the victim was shot twice, according to authorities.
Deputies said they found the gun used in the shooting along the path the couple took when they fled the scene.
Surveillance video and the information on Snapchat led deputies to identify Sperandio as a suspect and when they met her at her home, she admitted to talking to the victim about selling marijuana but denied being in the area when he was shot, according to a news release.
Records show Hayes admitted to pulling the trigger.
“There are still people out there calling the possession and sale of marijuana a ‘low-level, non-violent crime.’ Tell that to this 15-year-old child’s mother. He is lucky to be alive. Hopefully he will fully recover, and the suspects who shot him will go to prison,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.
Hayes has been charged with attempted murder, discharging a firearm from a vehicle within 1,000 feet of a person, tampering with evidence and conspiracy to sell marijuana. Sperandio is facing charges from an active warrant of threats to inflict serious bodily harm on a law enforcement officer, as well as accessory after the fact to a felony, conspiracy to sell marijuana, tampering with evidence and resisting arrest.