Monday, October 22, 2018
Public safety

Sarasota father who accidentally shot his son: 'The gun didn't kill my boy. I did.’

The small pistol was perfect for training, the father said.

It unofficially belonged to Clayton Brumby's 12-year-old daughter, but he was up next to fire the .22 semiautomatic Ruger SR22 at the shooting range at High Noon Guns in Sarasota on Sunday.

His 14-year-old son, Stephen, patiently sat in the back of the lane next to his sister, awaiting his turn. Stephen didn't like smaller guns anyway. The teenager preferred bigger ones, like his dad's 9mm Glock.

When Clayton Brumby fired his last shot, he said a smoking hot casing flew out of the pistol and went down the back of his shirt. Both arms flailed up in the air, he said, his finger still on the trigger. The gun fired.

"Dad, Stephen's been shot," the father heard his 24-year-old son shriek.

The father said the bullet he fired ricocheted off the ceiling and struck the 14-year-old's jugular vein. The teen was rushed to Sarasota Memorial Hospital, where deputies said he was later pronounced dead.

"The gun didn't kill my boy," the 64-year-old father of seven said Monday. "I did."

A morning full of fishing and tennis wasn't enough to exhaust the outdoorsy Brumby family. They had time to spare before planning to dance the humid July night away at a friend's house, so four of the Brumbys finished their lunch and headed 10 minutes south of their home to the gun range at 4583 Bee Ridge Road, where they were members.

Clayton Brumby said he's been shooting for three years now. Stephen took up shooting about 18 months ago. In recent months, the family started going to High Noon Guns to shoot on the weekends.

"(Stephen) was a natural," the father said. "He would shoot a .45. He would shoot anything."

The account the father gave of the shooting differed from the one given by the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office. Deputies offered this version of events based on witness statements and after reviewing video footage:

Clayton Brumby was in the last shooting lane, with a solid wall to his right side. When he fired, the spent shell casing struck the wall and bounced into the back of his shirt.

The father tried to remove the casing with his right hand, deputies said, which held the weapon. "While doing so, he inadvertently pointed the firearm directly behind him and accidently fired," according to the Sheriff's Office. That's when the 14-year-old was struck.

No one else was injured. The Sheriff's Office called the incident an "accidental shooting" and said that as of Monday there were no charges pending against the father. The investigation is continuing.

When asked about the father's version of events, Sarasota sheriff's spokeswoman Kaitlyn Johnston said the agency's understanding of events remains the same but "things are fluid, so that could change."

High Noon Guns bills itself as "a safer, greener, quieter, cooler gun range" on its website. An employee reached Monday said the gun range reopened on Sunday afternoon. He could not comment further.

Stephen had many talents, his father said. Born the fourth of seven homeschooled children, the 14-year-old could recall the details of a story his mother read to him at the drop of a hat — a trick envied by his younger siblings.

His older siblings' ears couldn't pick up the musical notes that Stephen could. He played the ukulele and the piano and was learning to master the guitar and drums for the music group he played in at the nondenominational Remnant Church.

On the GoFundMe.com page set up by the family, Stephen was described as "a meteor that couldn't be contained" who loved fishing, tennis music, archery and knife throwing.

"We have some bright children in this family," Clayton Brumby said, "but none were brighter than he was."

Family and friends came to the Brumby home in droves to comfort the father, who said he blames himself for what happened.

Clayton Brumby said he preaches gun safety, trained his kids and always goes through the rules.

"That's why yesterday was so stupid and freaky on me because the gun is supposed to be pointed down range as all times," he said. "My first thought was 'That was pretty stupid of me. I should've put the gun down.' "

Contact Colleen Wright at [email protected] or (727) 893-8643. Follow @Colleen_Wright on Twitter.

Comments
Hillsborough Sheriff: Double homicide at apartment, suspect in custody

Hillsborough Sheriff: Double homicide at apartment, suspect in custody

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a double homicide after discovering the bodies of a woman and a boy in an apartment Sunday evening.About 6:47 p.m., Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister said authorities received a 911...
Updated: 7 hours ago
TPD: Man driving wrong way on Selmon Expressway with lights off kills 68-year-old

TPD: Man driving wrong way on Selmon Expressway with lights off kills 68-year-old

TAMPA — For years, Bamnet Narongchai showed up to the Wat Buddhist temple on Sunday morning to grill chicken for the temple’s weekly market.He was expected to be there this past Sunday, like always. But by the time the market started, the grim news w...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Jacksonville shooting: 6 shot, 3 in critical condition; Picture of car released

Jacksonville shooting: 6 shot, 3 in critical condition; Picture of car released

JACKSONVILLE — Six people have been shot a few blocks from an NFL stadium in Jacksonville, and three are in critical condition, authorities reported.No suspect is yet in custody, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.About 12:35 p.m., a vehi...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Driver dead in single-car crash in Riverview, deputies say

Driver dead in single-car crash in Riverview, deputies say

RIVERVIEW — A driver in a single-car crash early Sunday morning, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.About 1:20 a.m., deputies found the driver unresponsive, after his car crashed into a chain link fence and power pole.No one else w...
Published: 10/21/18
FHP: Pedestrian, 70, hit and killed in Brandon

FHP: Pedestrian, 70, hit and killed in Brandon

BRANDON — A 70-year-old woman was hit and killed crossing State Road 60 on Saturday night, troopers reported.Mary J. Philip, of New Port Richey, was walking across the road near Mount Carmel Road about 11:11 p.m., according to the Florida Highway Pat...
Published: 10/21/18
FHP: Pedestrian, 87, hit and killed crossing State Road 52

FHP: Pedestrian, 87, hit and killed crossing State Road 52

PORT RICHEY — A driver hit and killed a pedestrian on State Road 52 near Bayonet Point, troopers reported.About 5:49 p.m., the pedestrian, 87-year-old Daniel William Troy, was walking north across the road, east of Meadow Drive.At the same time, Chri...
Published: 10/21/18

Woman, 20, killed by falling palm tree on Egmont Key

ST. PETERSBURG — A 20-year-old woman died Saturday afternoon at Egmont Key Park when a palm tree fell on her, according to Hillsborough deputies.Isabel Melendez was lying in a hammock about 4 p.m. on the island, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Offi...
Published: 10/20/18
Homicide victim found lying off Dale Mabry/ Busch is 34-year-old man, deputies say

Homicide victim found lying off Dale Mabry/ Busch is 34-year-old man, deputies say

TAMPA — A homicide victim found lying alongside Dale Mabry Highway and Busch Boulevard on Friday afternoon has been identified as Michael Andrew Montalbano, 34, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.Investigators said only that Montalb...
Published: 10/20/18
CrossFit worker, 16, stabbed during robbery attempt outside Tarpon Springs gym

CrossFit worker, 16, stabbed during robbery attempt outside Tarpon Springs gym

TARPON SPRINGS — A Spring Hill teen has been arrested in the stabbing of another teen during a robbery attempt outside a gym where the victim worked.Dedson Hallon Suas, 17, faces a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and attempte...
Published: 10/20/18
Drunk driver hits 11 vehicles on I-275, including state trooper's car. No one hurt

Drunk driver hits 11 vehicles on I-275, including state trooper's car. No one hurt

ST. PETERSBURG — A drunk driver collided with 11 vehicles along a five-mile stretch of Interstate 275 before he was arrested as he was stopped in traffic after exiting into downtown, the Florida Highway Patrol said.No one one was injured in th...
Published: 10/20/18