Teen Accidentally Shot by His Friend
Gulfport--5712 21st Avenue South. Around 9:30 this morning, Willie Ellis (14) of St. Petersburg was visiting a friend, Sean Campbell (13), at his house in Gulfport. Ellis was showing off a .357 magnum revolver when he accidentally fired the gun, striking Campbell in the chest and arm.
Campbell was taken to Bayfront Medical Center for treatment, but his injury did not appear to be life threatening. Police recovered the gun, as well another one Ellis had brought to the house, and are currently investigating to find out how and where he got them in the first place.
No adults were in the house at the time of this incident, but all parents have been notified. At this point, there have been no arrests or criminal charges filed, but police will discuss the case with the State Attorney's Office before making a final determination.
A third firearm--another revolver--has been found in this case. Information is so far indicating that the guns involved did not come from the parents of either juvenile. The serial numbers for the guns are not in the national database, so detectives will be communicating with other local agencies to review recent cases of gun thefts, especially those in which victims may not have provided serial numbers to police when making the reports. Additionally, police will ask the Bureau of Alcohol and Firearms to conduct a trace on each firearm, identifying the point of initial sale in the United States. The guns are reputable brands (Beretta, Ruger, Smith & Wesson) which are not commonly traded among juvenile gang members, so police are considering the possibility that they were stolen very recently.
Detectives have learned that the guns may have been stolen when Campbell accompanied his mother as she worked cleaning a house in Tierra Verde. The homeowner did not notice the guns missing until he was alerted by police. Pinellas County Sheriff's Office investigators will review the circumstances to determine what, if any, criminal charges may be filed related to the theft of the guns or the child's access to them. The Sheriff's public information office can be reached at 582-6221.