TAMPA — Huddled in a backyard shed in Sulphur Springs, the four boys examined their prize: a .380 caliber pistol so smooth it looked like a futuristic toy.
One of the boys had stolen it from his uncle. They thought it was unloaded, so they passed it around, pointing it at each other like in the movies, until it fired, its bullet tearing a hole in Ikeim Boswell's neck.
Ikeim died that night, March 14, 2015, at Tampa General Hospital. He was 16.
Gun injuries are a growing problem for Florida's children, rising along with the increasing availability of firearms across the state, the Tampa Bay Times has found.
To determine how many kids are shot each year — accidentally, intentionally or during the commission of a crime — the Times looked at millions of hospital discharge records for patients across Florida, as well as data collected by the state's 24 medical examiners.
The analysis found that, between 2010 and 2015, nearly 3,200 kids age 17 and under were killed or injured by firearms. Put another way, a child in Florida was shot, on average, every 17 hours.
Click here to continue reading "In Harm's Way," a Times special report examining guns as a top children's health issue in Florida.