Questions loom about Hudson murder-suicide that left two boys dead

Kevin Pimentel, 12, shot his brothers, 6 and 16, then himself at his family's home Wednesday evening, according to Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco. [BRENDAN FITTERER | Times; Pasco County Schools]
Kevin Pimentel, 12, shot his brothers, 6 and 16, then himself at his family's home Wednesday evening, according to Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco. [BRENDAN FITTERER | Times; Pasco County Schools]
Published March 27, 2015

HUDSON — There were few answers on Thursday about what led a 12-year-old boy to allegedly shoot his two brothers Wednesday night, killing one and injuring the other, before turning the gun on himself.

Investigators say Kevin Pimentel, remembered as a quiet kid who played with his iPad on the school bus and was in gifted classes, shot and killed his 6-year-old brother, Brady, and injured his 16-year-old brother, Trevor, inside their home. He then shot himself, committing suicide, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said at a news conference Thursday morning.

Trevor was shot in the leg and remains hospitalized with nonlife-threatening injuries.

Detectives believe the incident was precipitated by an argument while the boys were cooking inside their Sugar Lane park mobile home at 16916 Bachmann Ave. But Nocco said investigators did not yet know what led to the argument or what it was about.

The Sheriff's Office had initially said the shooting was preceded by an argument over food, but Nocco clarified that the boys were preparing food. Before the boys' names were released, Kevin's age was given as 13 on Wednesday night, but the sheriff confirmed on Thursday he was 12.

Barbara Campochiaro of Spring Hill, the boys' aunt, said the family is very close and struggling to understand what happened. She is the sister of Helen Campochiaro, the boys' mother.

"You see things like this on TV. You feel bad, and you wonder how can this happen," Barbara Campochiaro said. "Then it happens to your family. There's just no justifying it."

Brady, who was in first grade, "was so full of imagination, love and friends," Campochairo said. "Kevin was highly intelligent. He loved to build things.

"They loved their mom," she said.

Helen, the boys' mother, works hard doing odd jobs and baking cakes, her sister said, and she slept on the floor of her home so that each of the children could have bedrooms. Helen's first son, 18-year-old Austin, also lives in the house but was not there at the time of the shooting. He was the other boys' half-brother.

"The mother's going through an absolute living hell right now," Nocco said. Helen Campochiaro works two jobs and was not home at the time of the shooting, the sheriff said.

Helen sometimes made cakes with her kids, her sister said, and Trevor especially likes to cook. He often made meals for his brothers.

Campochiaro said her sister never worried about leaving her children at home with their older brothers. "We don't know where this came from," she said.

All the children were "raised with gun safety," Barbara Campochiaro said. Her sister owns a firearm, though Campochiaro said she did not know what kind.

"She was a single mom with four boys. Unfortunately, she could only afford to live in a trailer," Campochiaro said. "She just had (a gun) for protection."

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Nocco said authorities have not determined what gun was used in the shooting or to whom it belonged.

Court records indicate that Helen and the boys' father, Louis Pimentel, divorced in December 2013 and agreed to share custody. Pimental lives in Port Richey.

A Department of Children and Families spokeswoman said neither the state agency nor the Pasco sheriff's Child Protective Investigations Unit had any prior contact with the Pimentel family. Officials launched an inquiry after the shooting Wednesday, the spokeswoman said.

The sheriff said the Pimentel family is cooperating with the investigation but has been grieving and unable to provide many answers. It was Trevor who called 911 at 6:19 p.m. Wednesday, shortly after investigators say Kevin opened fire, Nocco said. "He calls up to tell law enforcement that his brother Kevin, who's 12 years old … had just shot 6-year-old Brady," Nocco said. When the first deputy arrived on scene, Nocco said, he heard Trevor scream, "I've been shot. I've been shot."

The homes in the Sugar Lane park off U.S. 19 near Little Road are in close quarters, but neighbors said they did not hear gunshots Wednesday.

Dottie Loyd, whose home is about 50 feet from the one where the shooting occurred, said she was sitting outside Wednesday evening and went in to make coffee. When she came back outside, she saw a deputy running around the house, his gun drawn.

Pasco County school superintendent Kurt Browning said Brady was a student at Hudson Elementary School and Kevin attended Hudson Middle School. Crisis teams and counselors were available to students and staff at both schools, he said.

Trevor takes virtual courses in the morning through Hudson High School, Browning said. He spends afternoons in culinary training at Marchman Technical College. The two younger boys had also attended Fox Hollow Elementary School.

At Hudson Middle School on Thursday, guidance counselors said Kevin was enrolled in gifted courses in the seventh grade along with a group of other high-achieving students. The children remembered that he liked video games, was quiet and never in trouble. Kevin's best friend was so upset that he had to leave school, the counselors said. Many children had trouble making sense of the tragedy, but they wrote letters to Kevin and his family.

"Dear Kevin's Parents," one girl wrote. "I honestly can't begin to think how you feel. I lost my dad and it was horrific. I cried so much knowing that you won't have him with you anymore. It is heartwrenching. I was a friend of Kevin's and he was a wonderful person. He is very smart and has the best jokes. Kevin was a really great person and I'm so sorry for your loss."

Another student addressed a note to the family, writing, "Kevin was my old classmate before I moved classes. Although he was quiet and I didn't know him well, he was my friend. I apologize for not being there for him and being nicer to him." She then wrote directly to her classmate: "Kevin, you are an amazing kid. You were never mean or rude to me … I am so sorry this happened to you. Rest in peace."

Some of the boys' teachers in Pasco went home early after hearing the news, according to Linda Cobbe, schools spokeswoman.

At Hudson Elementary School, next to the middle school, counselors told Brady's first-grade classmates only that something had happened to him and it was "very sad."

Times staff writers Claire McNeill and Zack Peterson contributed to this report. Contact Josh Solomon at (813) 909-4613 or Follow @josh_solomon15