Cooper City teen finds gun in garage, accidentally shoots friend, deputies say

Charlie Martin, 14, shot in head, pronounced dead at scene

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

COOPER CITY, Fla. - A 14-year-old boy found his stepfather's handgun inside a gun box in the garage of their Cooper City home before he accidentally shot his friend Thursday, an arrest report said.

The teen faces a manslaughter charge in the shooting.

Broward Sheriff's Office deputies said the shooting was reported just before 3 p.m. at a home at 10000 NW 41st St.

Charlie Martin, 14, was pronounced dead at the scene from a single gunshot wound to the head.

Click here to donate to Martin's funeral fund.

According to the arrest report, the suspect was at his home with the victim and the victim's brother, Francisco Martin, 16. No adults were at the home.

Detectives said the suspect claimed that he found the handgun inside a gun box that was placed inside a cardboard box in the garage of the home.

According to the report, the suspect removed the magazine from the handgun and saw that it was unloaded before putting it back in.

He said a second magazine that was loaded was in the gun box.

Detectives said the boy claimed that he pulled the slide back and saw that the gun did not have a round in the chamber. He then pulled the trigger several times, playing with the gun, they said.

The teen said Martin and his brother also pulled the trigger several times. He said he took the gun away from Martin and when he pulled the trigger the last time, the gun went off, shooting Martin, detectives said.

A neighbor called 911 and said he heard what sounded like "either a gunshot or firecracker."

According to the report, the suspect panicked and ran from the home, failing to call police or render any aid to Martin.

Detectives said the suspect dropped the gun after the shooting as he fled the garage.

During questioning, the teen told detectives that his stepfather, Roland Toulon, had showed him the gun before and told him not to touch it, the report said.

"He is a good boy," Toulon told a judge on Friday. "He is very responsible."

Investigators determined that the magazine was loaded with 14 rounds and had one live round in the chamber. An empty magazine was found on the ground in the garage.

The suspect's parents broke down in tears as he appeared in juvenile court Friday, where a judge ordered that he remain in custody until a second hearing scheduled for Aug. 13.

"He is a 14-year-old boy who has no prior problems with the law, no problems in school, (who) got decent grades. (He) was a regular kid who played football," the suspect's attorney, Michael J. Entin said.

The suspect, whose identity is not being released due to his age, attends Franklin Academy where he plays on the school's football team.

A website for donations has been set up to help the victim's family with funeral expenses.

The victim's family did not attend Friday's hearing.

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