Florida Teen Shot After Giving Brother Birthday Hug

Yasmine Alami, Contributor

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A thirteen year old Florida teen girl is dead after her teenage brother Martaevious Santiago shot her in the back of the head while she gave him a birthday hug according to authorities.

Martaevious Santiago, 17, told Miami-Dade Police officers that the incident was all an accident.

He told police that he was “horsing around” with King while he and a friend were handling a loaded handgun on Tuesday night in their Florida City home.

While Santiago’s family and friends have called the killing a freak accident, family friend, Shamara Perpall told the station, “He didn’t mean to kill his sister.”

Vernon Williams, his stepfather, told WSVN 7 News, “He said, ‘Daddy, I’m sorry. It was an accident. I’m sorry, Dad” adding: “I can’t fault anyone for this here. It happened.”

After King gave her brother a birthday hug and started to turn away he accidently shot her.

Now charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child, Santiago also faces charges of possession of a weapon. Along with Santiago, his 14-year-old friend was taken into custody on an outstanding warrant.

“I know from the bottom of my heart that he loved his sister and that he would never do anything to his sister intentionally,” said King’s father to CBS News. In hopes that authorities will show Santiago mercy. “As far as him being charged with her death, I don’t agree with it because he’s been punished enough by the fact that he knows what he did.”

While the suspects are minors, they have no comments. However, Superintendent of Miami-Dade Schools, Alberto Carvalho tweeted about the tragic event.

The killing is “heartbreaking, reckless gun violence,” Carvalho said.

The accused killer’s life had been marred by gun violence even before the incident.  In a statement to the radio station WLRN in a series on young violence survivors, he said he had been to jail 18 times, majority of the time for robberies. Last December Santiago was shot in the leg in his driveway, according to reports from the station. Nearly dying, his friend was shot in the head.

Another incident was eleven months earlier. Santiago’s younger brother, Martwan, was shot four times, the station reported. One of the bullets went through his spine and as a result was paralyzed from the waist down.

With guns playing a drastic role in the family’s life, Santiago had even posted photos of himself on social media posing with a pistol.

Prominent leaders in the community are using this event as an example of why Florida should make a change to its gun access laws. WIth the highest number of people with concealed weapons carrying permits, Florida has about 1.4 million individuals in this situation as of March 2015, according to Politifact.

Santiago is scheduled for a hearing in court on May 17.

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