Boy, 7, shot and killed during Florida jet ski dispute; grandfather wounded while shielding child

Author: Aliza Chasan-AP News
Published: Updated:

A 7-year-old boy was killed and his grandfather was injured by a stray bullet when gunfire erupted during a Fourth of July dispute in Florida, officials said. 

The boy was killed by a gunshot wound to the head on Tuesday night, Tampa Police Deputy Chief Calvin Johnson said during a news conference. His grandfather was shot in the hand. 

The pair were at the Courtney Campbell Causeway west of Ben T. Davis Beach around 8:30 p.m. local time when two groups of people started arguing over jet skis being driven recklessly near where children were playing in the water, Johnson said. Members from each group opened fire. 

“The grandfather of the young man that was shot grabbed him and pulled him into the truck when they heard the gunfire going on,” Johnson said. “They were inside the vehicle. A round went through the vehicle, hit the grandfather in the finger and the young man in the head.”

“There was no reason, no excuse, for that argument to lead to gunfire, much less an argument over jet skis,” Johnson said.

Police are still speaking with witnesses and gathering evidence. They asked anyone with information to come forward. 

Investigators have not yet identified any suspects. Johnson pleaded with anyone involved in the shooting to turn themselves in. 

“Your actions and your anger led to a 7-year-old, just starting his life, to be killed,” he said. 

Just days before the shooting, a new law went into effect in Florida allowing people to carry guns without a concealed weapons permit.

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