DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. – A 14-year-old boy has been charged with first-degree murder after a 16-year-old boy was shot in the head last month in Deerfield Beach, prosecutors confirmed to Local 10 News Friday.
Jail records show that Keantae Vaughn was transferred from juvenile detention to the Paul Rein Detention Facility on Thursday.
According to a spokesperson for the Broward State Attorney’s Office, the case was brought in front of a grand jury on Wednesday, and Vaughn was indicted on one count of first-degree murder.
He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if he is convicted.
According to the spokesperson, Florida’s juvenile justice system allows for only a maximum of up to three years in a juvenile facility, and upon release, individuals can only be kept under supervision in the community until age 21.
“I have to prioritize the safety of the community and make these kinds of decisions after reviewing all of the evidence and circumstances,” Broward State Attorney Harold F. Pryor said in a statement.
According to authorities, the victim, Rickey Ferguson Jr., was initially hospitalized after the shooting that occurred at about 5 p.m., on Dec. 28, at the Oveta McKeithen Recreational Complex, at 445 SW Second St.
His mother, Latasha Ferguson, announced on Facebook Jan. 3 that her son, a 10th-grade student and football player at Deerfield Beach High School, had died.
Detectives from the Broward Sheriff’s Office said Vaughn admitted to being at the park that day, but denied being involved in the shooting, which was witnessed by other teens who had been playing football at the park.
According to his arrest warrant, one of the victim’s friends told detectives that some kids at the park were playing with a gun and Vaughn went behind the victim and took a beanie hat off his head.
The witness said the beanie was being thrown around and Rickey Ferguson began chasing the teens around, slamming one person to the ground and eventually getting his beanie back.
According to the witness, people began telling the person with the gun to sit down and stop playing around, but he waved the gun around, pointed it at someone and said, “I hate punk faking a** n*****.”
Detectives said they were told the suspect then went over behind Rickey Ferguson.
The witness said he wasn’t sure if the victim said something to the suspect, but saw that something was “going on,” and then witnessed the suspect shooting the victim in the head.
The witness told detectives he had known the shooter for about five months from hanging around the park, and knew him only as “Tae.”
He later identified Vaughn to detectives in a photograph.
According to the arrest warrant, the shooting was also captured on surveillance video.