11-year-old shoots, injures 2 teens following altercation at Florida Pop Warner football practice

APOPKA, Fla. (AP) — An 11-year-old boy retrieved a gun from an unlocked box in his mother’s vehicle and shot two 13-year-olds following an altercation that began during a Pop Warner football practice in central Florida, police said Tuesday.

The child fired one shot on Monday night, hitting one teen in the arm and the other in the torso, Apopka police Chief Mike McKinley said during a Tuesday morning news conference. He said surveillance video showed that both teens were running away from the boy when the shot was fired.

The two teens are in stable condition, McKinley said.

The shooting was reported about 8:18 p.m. and officers arrived at the scene about four minutes later, McKinley said.

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Responding officers took the gun from the child, and he was detained, McKinley said. The boy was later charged with one count of attempted second-degree murder and booked into the juvenile assessment center. The chief said the boy’s mother may face a second-degree misdemeanor charge of leaving a gun unsecured.

“As a society, we need to reflect on this. We see this all the time now,” McKinley said. “It’s a shame. No one wants to arrest an 11-year-old by any means.”

McKinley added that any additional charges will be up to the court system.

“Our hope is that the 11-year-old gets the assistance he needs to make sure this isn’t a resolution for the rest of his life. He’s 11, he’s got a long life ahead of him,” McKinley said. “There’s no doubt that he can turn things around. Hopefully our court system, with diversion programs and counseling and other things, can help him past this and move to a point where reaching for a firearm is not his resolution for the future.”

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McKinley did not say what the altercation was about. An investigation is underway.

He said there were lots of parents and children at the practice, and additional adults and children were at a nearby soccer practice. No one else was injured.

Apopka is about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of Orlando, Florida.

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