PALM COAST, Fla. – The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest Thursday of a 15-year-old accused of shooting and killing a 19-year-old at a party in Palm Coast.
Da’Mari Barnes, 15, is accused of shooting and killing Jamey Bennett, Jr. on Feb. 5.
“Detectives convinced his parents to have their son turn himself in,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Late (Wednesday) afternoon Barnes turned himself in to the Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office in Camilla, Georgia.”
Barnes currently faces a charge of manslaughter, though Staly said that charge could be increased by the state attorney’s office.
“While it is tragic to charge a 15-year-old with murder, it is my hope the state attorney — and a grand jury if necessary — will indict and charge him as an adult,” Staly said. “The juvenile system has significant limitations on serious crimes like this, and I don’t think the juvenile system will provide the proper justice for the victim’s family or our community.”
Bennett was shot during a fight at a party in Palm Coast, deputies said. Staly said that the party was attended by about 50 teens.
“We learned the shooting occurred after our victim intervened in a verbal argument, which then resulted in a physical confrontation between the victim and Barnes during this late night party,” the sheriff said. “Barnes pulled out a concealed firearm and shot the victim once in the chest.”
Staly stressed the importance of parents knowing where their children are and who they are with, to avoid incidents such as this shooting.
“Parents, I ask you to teach your kids that it takes a bigger man to walk away from a dispute than it does to be a punk with a gun,” he said. “Know what your kids are doing, where they are and who they’re with before it’s too late.”