Police say an 18-year-old man is responsible for the killing of a 15-year-old boy whose body was found inside a van earlier this week.
Detectives arrested Demontray Lovett of St. Petersburg late Friday night. He is accused of shooting and killing Carl Lee Martin, a student at Pinellas Secondary School.
Authorities found Martin's body inside a green 2002 Dodge Caravan parked in an alley behind 626 23rd Ave. S after being called about the vehicle about 11:30 p.m. Thursday, officials said.
The car had been reported stolen from Lakeland this week, police said.
Detectives said Lovett, Martin and three other people were in the car on Thursday and drove to St. Pete Beach to steal another car. Lovett, armed with a handgun, was in the backseat behind Martin, who was in the passenger seat.
At some point, about 10:45 p.m. police said, Lovett accidentally discharged the gun.
A bullet went through the front seat, striking Martin in the upper torso.
The group headed back to St. Petersburg. Martin was losing consciousness.
Believing he was dead, police said, the group abandoned the van in the alley where it was found.
Lovett was arrested on charges of aggravated manslaughter of a child and being a delinquent in charge of a firearm. He had previous arrests as a juvenile for burglary, auto theft and battery on a law enforcement officer, police said.
Authorities said they are still investigating the involvement of the other people who were in the car as well as trying to determine who initially stole the van.
No other details were released late Friday night.