Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Public safety

Arrests made in shooting of Clearwater teen

CLEARWATER — Two Clearwater teenagers have been charged with felonies in connection with the shooting of another teen last month during "horseplay" with a stolen gun, police said Thursday.

Taylor Compton, 13, and Justin Hemphill, 15, were both charged with armed burglary, grand theft of a firearm and dealing in stolen property, according to Clearwater police.

Compton was wielding the gun when it discharged, police said; she was also charged with aggravated child abuse.

The charges shed new light on circumstances surrounding the mysterious discharge of a handgun on Aug. 2 at a home on Browning Street, east of Missouri Avenue in Clearwater.

The incident resulted in the hospitalization of 15-year-old Ryan Greenlee of Clearwater, who was shot once in the face with a Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun. Greenlee has been released from the hospital but suffered "substantial injuries to his face," said Clearwater public safety spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts.

Compton and Hemphill stole the handgun from a car about 3 a.m. on Aug. 2, Watts said, and tried unsuccessfully to sell it. Later that day, Compton and other juveniles were "playing with the gun" at the house on Browning Street, she said.

"Compton shot at the victim, during what appears to be horseplay," Clearwater police said in a statement. "She told detectives that she intended to scare him and did not know the gun was loaded."

Greenlee was visiting the house but did not live there, police have said. It was unclear whether Compton or Hemphill reside at the home. According to county property records, the house's owner is David Crandall.

A judge decided Thursday morning that Compton would be released to her parents. Hemphill was ordered held in the Pinellas County Jail's juvenile detention center for 21 days because of previous encounters with police, Watts said. Information on his background was not publicly available because he is a juvenile.

Peter Jamison can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4157. To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

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