Guns taken from teen who built ghost gun used in accidental death of 17-year-old

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Andrew Byrd
Andrew Byrd, 18. (Credit: Lee County Sheriff’s Office)

The 18-year-old accused of building a ghost gun that killed a 17-year-old girl is now not allowed to have any guns for more than a year.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office says Andrew Byrd built that gun, and the girl shot herself accidentally. No criminal charges have been filed.

Byrd had already given up his gun when the petition for a risk protection order (RPO) was first filed. Law enforcement said he agreed to it. Two of the guns were homemade untraceable ghost guns.

Destiny Padilla
Destiny Padilla (Credit: Mullin’s Memorial)

One of those homemade guns killed 17-year-old Destiny Padilla.

Byrd was not in court on Monday when his risk protection order was discussed.

“I just thought that the sheriff’s office did the right thing,” said David Thomas, a forensic studies professor at FGCU.

Thomas is a professor of forensic studies and a former police officer. WINK News asked him if the RPO would really stop Byrd from getting or building another ghost gun.

“There’s no way to stop him from getting the parts. And there’s no way to stop you from building him if that’s what he chooses to do in the future,” said Thomas.

It is a scary thought for Padilla’s family. Law enforcement said Padilla accidentally shot herself in the face with a ghost gun the sheriff’s office says Byrd built.

“I don’t think he should be allowed to build these ghost guns. I feel like they have no consequences,” said Ashley Pirnoti, Destiny Padilla’s mother.

Byrd isn’t allowed to build the ghost guns. No one is because they’re illegal. The price for building it cost Pirnoti her daughter’s life.

“While my daughter is no longer with us, exactly. He’s only facing a violation of probation. Why is he not getting more consequences for having guns in the house when he’s not supposed to?” Pirnoti said.

The RPO is supposed to keep Byrd away from guns for a year, but a bigger piece of the picture will be filled in with an evaluation.

“There’s enough to get him to do the eval, then the rest of it has to be that we have to see what’s on the other side and what the evaluator with the psychiatrist or psychologist comes back with,” said Thomas.

Thomas said this would help determine whether Byrd is a danger to himself or others, but this doesn’t mean he can’t have a gun ever again.

“According to the way the law reads, I believe you can’t take any guns away for more than a year. And then you have to go back to be evaluated, and kind of see where we are a year from now. So I don’t think there’s no there’s there’s not a permanent takeaway unless some judge got absolutely just so afraid that he or she just goes, boom, you know, and we’re gonna violate the statute, this is it,” said Thomas.

Byrd doesn’t have to get the evaluation because it wasn’t on the original paperwork. So even though a judge signed off on the RPO, if Byrd wants to set aside that portion of the order, he can.

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