A 13-year-old boy who was playing with a revolver has been arrested after the gun discharged and killed his friend's older brother.
According to reports, the 13-year-old was spending the night at a friend's house in Fort Towson, Oklahoma, when he began playing with a gun. Police say that in doing so, the boy shot and killed Gavin Freeman, 18, his friend's older brother who was playing a video game at the time of his death.
The shooting occurred around 5:00 a.m. Friday morning; by 5:00 p.m., Choctaw County Sheriff's deputies had arrested the 13-year-old and transported him to a juvenile facility where he awaits charges in the case.
The shooting is believed to be accidental, but the OSBI has been called in to aid in the investigation. OSBI agents will turn their findings over to the Choctaw County District Attorney's Office to determine what, if any, charges will be filed in connection with the 18-year-old's death.
Reports do not indicate how the younger teen got the gun or to whom the revolver belonged.
If the shooting is indeed accidental, charges could include first degree manslaughter. Additionally, any adult responsible for allowing the minor to gain possession of the weapon could be charged.
In Oklahoma, minors under the age of 18 are charged as juveniles and their cases handled by the Office of Juvenile Affairs for most misdemeanor and nonviolent felony charges. However, state law allows minors as young as 13 years old to be charged as adults when facing first degree murder charges.
Oklahoma also provides a middle ground for prosecuting minors accused of serious crimes. Under the Youthful Offender Act, certain minors are charged as youthful offenders if their crimes are considered to serious for juvenile adjudication, but not deserving of adult prosecution.
Minors aged 13 and 14, who may be charged as adults if suspected of first degree murder, also have the opportunity to be certified as youthful offenders rather than adults for the purposes of prosecution and sentencing.
However, most circumstances that cause a minor to be certified as a youthful offender apply to teens aged 15 through 17.
Teens aged 15, 16, or 17 are charged as youthful offenders for the following crimes:
- Murder in the second degree,
- Manslaughter in the first degree,
- Robbery with a dangerous weapon or a firearm or attempt thereof,
- Robbery in the first degree or attempt thereof,
- Rape in the first degree or attempt thereof,
- Rape by instrumentation or attempt thereof,
- Forcible sodomy,
- Lewd molestation,
- Arson in the first degree or attempt thereof, or
- Any offense in violation of Section 652 of Title 21 of the Oklahoma Statutes (shooting with intent to kill, use of a vehicle to facilitate discharge of a weapon, assault with a deadly weapon or by means or force likely to cause death)
Additionally, teens aged 16 or 17 are charged as youthful offenders for the following offenses:
- Burglary in the first degree or attempted burglary in the first degree,
- Battery or assault and battery on a state employee or contractor while in the custody or supervision of the Office of Juvenile Affairs,
- Aggravated assault and battery of a police officer,
- Intimidating a witness,
- Trafficking in or manufacturing illegal drugs,
- Assault or assault and battery with a deadly weapon,
- Residential burglary in the second degree after two or more adjudications that are separated in time for delinquency for committing burglary in the first degree or residential burglary in the second degree,
- Rape in the second degree, or
- Use of a firearm while in commission of a felony if the offense was committed on or after January 1, 1998.
If your child is accused of a serious crime in Oklahoma, act quickly to secure legal representation. Call (405)418-8888 for more information.
Image credit: David Trawin