NEW PORT RICHEY — The family inside the home on Irene Loop was still on edge from an attempted drive-by shooting less than 24 hours before, and the man inside slept with a gun close at hand. His wife, a nurse, lay in bed next to him, watching TV.
In one of the bedrooms at the other end of the house, their daughter and youngest son watched a movie. Though it was nearly 1:40 a.m., the third bedroom was empty — the couple’s older son, 16, wasn’t home.
When three people showed up outside the home early Sunday morning, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco later said, they may have been looking for the older boy.
A riot of noise erupted around the house: One gunshot sounded, a window in the younger kids' bedroom shattered, and the girl pushed her younger brother into the closet. Something broke a window in the older boy’s room, and someone cut themselves on the glass. A storm of 11 gunshots fired through the parents' bedroom window. It was only after the father grabbed his gun and checked on the children that he realized his wife wouldn’t wake up.
First responders arrived, and pronounced the woman dead at the scene. On Monday, the Sheriff’s Office announced that it had arrested a 17-year-old boy in her death. Nocco said in a video-recorded statement that she was a casualty in an apparent battle between teenagers trying to kill each other, one that included the drive-by shooting the morning prior and a shooting in New Port Richey just a couple of hours earlier.
“We’re talking about juveniles that were going back and forth trying to kill somebody,” Nocco said. “They were going back and forth shooting up neighborhoods.”
Deputies accused Kyle James Beavers, of New Port Richey, of firing the 11 shots that killed the woman. The victim’s husband shot Beavers in the leg as he and the other suspects — who haven’t been found — ran away, deputies said. He was hospitalized briefly before being arrested Sunday and taken to the Pasco County jail. He has not been formally charged with a crime, according to the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office, but an arrest report lists a charge of non-premeditated murder.
After his arrest, Beavers told deputies he was armed and at the house, according to the arrest report, but he denied firing into the bedroom. He said he shot into the ground. Nocco said the pink semi-automatic handgun Beavers is accused of using was stolen. Beavers' mother did not immediately respond Monday to a request for comment.
Though the victim’s older son may have been the intended target, Nocco said he has not cooperated with deputies, nor will he tell his father “why people were targeting his house and why his mother died.”
The Sheriff’s Office has not identified the victim and her family, nor has it given an exact address of the shooting because of its interpretation of Marsy’s Law, a constitutional amendment passed by Florida voters in 2018 that is meant to protect crime victims but deprives the public of information that had long been available under the state’s public records law.
Deputies who responded to the scene found Beavers, injured, two blocks away, they said. At the house, they found the shattered bedroom windows. One deputy counted about 11 bullet holes in the parents' bedroom window and its frame, he wrote, as well as 11 spent casings on the ground outside. They found blood inside the older boy’s room, suggesting the broken glass had sliced someone as they reached in.
Security footage from nearby homes showed three people approaching the house, deputies said. All three gathered around the victim’s bedroom window at first, before two of them moved to the front of the house. The person remaining at the victim’s window, who deputies said was Beavers, fired several shots, and the muzzle flash could be seen on the video, according to the report. One of the other two suspects fired shots at the front of the house.
Soon after, deputies said, the footage showed Beavers and one of the other suspects kneeling in the driveway, apparently looking for something. They fled when the victim’s husband came out and shot at them.
Beavers stopped in the driveway because he had something in his eye, he later told deputies, according to the arrest report. Nocco said he seemed to be looking for something on the ground. He said the second suspect who met him there said, “I can’t find it,” before running away when the victim’s husband came out firing. It’s not clear what that person was referring to.
Nocco said in his video statement that the gun Beavers is accused of using was stolen. The Sheriff’s Office asked that anyone who has any information about the shootings, or who can identify a vehicle that may have been involved in the shooting, call Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477).