Florida boy, 12, accidentally shoots, kills himself after finding gun at sleepover, police say

No adults were home at time of the shooting, officers say

Police lights

LAKELAND, Fla. – A 12-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed himself after finding a gun at a friend’s house during a sleepover in Lakeland Friday night, police said.

Officers said they responded to a home in the 5500 block of Starling Loop around 7 p.m. about a shooting involving a child.

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Upon arrival, police said they found emergency medical officials rendering aid to the boy, who was later transported to the hospital, where he died.

According to the Lakeland Police Department, the boy had been dropped off by his mother for a sleepover at his friend’s house. Officers said the victim and his friend, a 13-year-old boy, were in the garage when the 12-year-old found a handgun in one of the vehicles.

As the boy was handling the gun, he accidentally shot himself, police said.

Officers contacted the boy’s mother at the hospital and she said she was under the impression an adult was at home supervising during the sleepover, but no adults were at the residence, according to the department.

Police said the family members of the 13-year-old boy were at work and unaware his friend was there. According to officers, they had not given the boy permission to have guests over.

Officers did not release the name of the victim.

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to contact Detective Troy Smith at 863-834-8958 or Troy.Smith@Lakelandgov.net.

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About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.