NEW PORT RICHEY — A dispute over money led a 17-year-old to shoot a 15-year-old boy in the face and back on Thursday, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
The 17-year-old, Jerry Chiarella, turned himself in later that evening to the New Port Richey Police Department. He now faces charges of attempted murder and carrying a concealed firearm.
The 15-year-old, Kaden Irizarry, was reported to be in serious condition on Friday.
The incident occurred around 5:10 p.m. along the 6300 block of Aberdeen Avenue, close to where both teens live, deputies said. Two witnesses told investigators they saw the 15-year-old walking down the street before getting into an argument with Chiarella.
Deputies said the 15-year-old turned around, got on his scooter and started going back up the street when Chiarella pulled out a handgun and fired three shots, striking the teen in the face and back.
Chiarella used a .22-caliber handgun, deputies said, that he bought for $40.
Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said both teens have a criminal history — Chiarella has faced charge of carrying a concealed weapon and the 15-year-old was accused of robbing an elderly man — and pointed to a rise in teen crime in the area and around the state.
"This is unfortunately the narrative that has been written in Tampa Bay over the past couple of years," Nocco said during a news conference Thursday night. "We're seeing juvenile crime on the rise ... and that's the hard thing right now.
"You see these kids, 15 and 17 years old, not care in the world, and their way of solving problems is to shoot people."
Nocco said the teens knew each other and that deputies were looking into whether the incident was gang-related.
"These juvenile crimes are just skyrocketing," Sheriff Nocco said. "These kids have no understanding of what tomorrow means."
Chiarella was booked into the Pasco Juvenile Detention Center. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Pasco County Sheriff's Office at (727)-847-5878.