Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Public safety

17 Florida children killed by guns since Sandy Hook shootings

1

JONAH MENDOZA

6 months old, homicide, Jan. 4, Ocala

Jonah was shot by his 20-year-old mother, Melanie Reyes, in a murder-suicide attempt. He died later that day. Reyes, who was 14 to 18 weeks pregnant, remained on life support until being pronounced dead Jan. 8. She had been fighting with a boyfriend before the incident.

2

MARCO ZAVALA

11, homicide, Feb. 2, Boynton Beach

Isidro Zavala apparently plotted for days on how kill his family to punish his wife for divorcing him. Zavala, 45, strangled his son Eduardo, 12, on their home's back patio and strangled and shot Marco in the kitchen while the boy's mother pleaded with him. He then killed himself with a .38-caliber pistol.

3

STEFAN ZUNIGA

11, homicide, Feb. 20, Miami

Carlos Zuniga, 45, killed himself after shooting his wife, Michelle, 43, and children Lauren, 14, and Stefan, 11. Stefan died the next day. Lauren and her mother were critically wounded.

4

SKYLER RICHARDS

10, accident, March 13, Frostproof

Skyler and his brother Taylor, 13, had new BB guns and were firing blasts of "air" at each other from close range, thinking there were no BBs in the guns. Taylor shot Skyler from a distance of about 6 inches, but the gun had a BB in it. The BB went from above Skyler's right ear to the other side of his skull. He died a week later.

5

CHRISTIAN VELEZ

12, accident, March 22, Lake Nona

Christian's 16-year-old brother told police he shot Christian because he thought the younger boy was an intruder trying to break into his family's home. Their parents were not at home.

6

SCARLETT PORTER

3, homicide, March 26, Tallahassee

Jenna Porter, 22, shot and killed her daughter Scarlett before killing herself at a golf course.

7

RAHQUEL CARR

4, accident, March 30, Miami-Dade

Rahquel was shot dead with a handgun that she, her 6-year-old brother and another little boy found inside a car outside her grandparent's home. One of the boys was handling the gun when it went off.

8

JADARRIUS SPEIGHTS

3, accident, May 7, Tampa

Jadarrius managed to get a 9mm handgun out of a backpack his uncle left in the bedroom they shared and fatally shot himself. The uncle, Jeffrey D. Walker, 29, was charged with culpable negligence. He was sentenced to five years' of probation, and adjudication was withheld. Walker was required to complete 50 community service hours, surrender his gun and license and talk with youth groups about firearm safety.

9

JARVAN JACKSON

11, accident, May 12, Lake City

Jarvan's 2-year-old brother and 4-year-old sister were playing with a gun in an apartment when Jarvan tried to get it away from them. It went off accidentally, hitting Jarvan in the neck, his grandmother said. The 4-year-old sustained an injury, but it was not life threatening.

10

JOSHUA STEPHENS

10, homicide, June 11, Panama City Beach

Joshua was shot in the forehead by his father in a bedroom of their home. Then the father, Phillip Stephens, 51, who had been upset with his wife, killed himself in the master bedroom.

11

TEQUILA FORSHEE

12, homicide, Aug. 14, Miami Gardens

Tequila was killed when a hail of gunfire ripped through her grandmother's living room in Miami Gardens, where she sat while getting her hair braided. As of last month, no suspects have been identified.

12

JOSEPHINE BOICE

17 months old, homicide Sept. 1, Sarasota

Using a semiautomatic pistol, Sarah Harnish, 35, shot and killed her daughter Josephine, before killing herself. Harnish had lived quietly with a mental illness that her family assumed to be schizophrenia.

13 AND 14

SUSANA CASTRILLON

SEBASTIAN CASTRILLON

8 and 7, homicide, Oct. 26, Brooksville

Sebastian died in bed from a single gunshot wound. In a bed in another room, Susana's body was found alongside her father's. Investigators believe the children were sleeping when their father, Daniel Castrillon-Oreggo, 39, shot them and turned the gun on himself. His wife had filed for divorce the previous week.

15

WESLEY CRAWFORD

12, self-inflicted Nov. 20, Spring Hill

Deputies found Wesley inside his Hernando County home with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

16

AARON VU

10, homicide Nov. 22, North Miami

Aaron was shot during a robbery at the nail salon owned by his father. Anthawn Ragan Jr., 19, was charged with murder, assault and robbery.

17

TAJ H. AYESH

2, accident Nov. 25, Lakeland

Taj's mother, Stephanie Sharell Nealy, 29, told Polk County sheriff's deputies that Taj followed her outside when she went to get a prepaid card from a truck belonging to her boyfriend, Hathum R. Ayesh, the boy's father. Nealy told deputies that she moved a loaded pistol that was inside the truck as she searched for the card. She said she was facing away from the truck when she heard a gunshot and then saw her son fall to the ground, the Sheriff's Office said.

Sources: Mother Jones; WKMG; Gainesville Sun; Palm Beach Post; Miami Herald; Lakeland Ledger; Orlando Sentinel; Tallahassee Democrat; Associated Press; WTLV; WJHG; Panama City News Herald; Sarasota Herald Tribune; Tampa Tribune

A closer look at the Florida children identified in Mother Jones' report as having died in gun accidents, homicides and suicides in the year since the Sandy Hook shootings in Newtown, Conn.

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Published: 12/12/17