Family Friend On Teen Shooting: ‘He Didn’t Mean To Kill His Sister’

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The brother of a 13-year-old shot and killed in Florida City is facing charges for her death in what some people are calling a tragic accident.

Martaevious Santiago, 17, is charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child under 18 years of age and possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony.

At a court hearing Wednesday afternoon, a judge said Santiago would remain in secure detention until his next court hearing in a few weeks.

The shooting happened Tuesday night at 421 NW 167th Street.

Teddra King, whose family and friends called her Rosie, was shot in the head when a gun her brother and friend were handling went off.

Miami-Dade Police said her brother called 911 and stated he had shot his sister. When crews arrived, they pronounced her dead at the scene.

“When my wife was down there with her, you know, I saw a handful of blood,” said her stepfather Vernon Williams. “My reaction was to just grab them both. That was my reaction, you know, so no one would run.”

Investigators found that Santiago was holding the loaded semi-automatic handgun when King was being playful with him because it was his birthday. They say she hugged her brother while he was holding the handgun.

At some point, police say, she turned around to walk away and Santiago pointed the handgun to the back of King’s head and pulled the trigger, shooting her.

The tragedy prompted strong words Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.

“When a 13-year-old is shot by her brother after getting a gun from a friend, the question must be asked, how can this happen? Who’s responsible for safeguarding the use of guns in our community,” asked Carvalho. “Why are children having access to guns on the streets of Miami, as well as in our homes? It is unacceptable and the community needs to step up and deal with this issue. The availability of guns side by side with the murderous code of silence does not allow for information to be brought forth to law enforcement and it’s victimizing kids in our community. Enough is enough.”

A family friend spoke to CBS4’s Peter D’Oench and called it a tragic accident.

“He didn’t mean to kill his sister because every picture that they take it’s always Popeye and Rosie and they always together,” said family friend Shamara Perpall.  “This was a freak accident that shouldn’t have never even happened.”

King’s stepfather said she was beautiful and intelligent.

“A beautiful, young lady, didn’t have any problems, just liked to be with her friends, very educated,” said Williams.

Neighbors said King was a good student and were stunned when they learned that she had died.

“It’s tragic that kids keep playing with guns, I mean, where do they get them from? They shouldn’t have them, I mean, they should be locked away somewhere safe,” said one man who lives in the neighborhood.

Police say the firearm was given to Santiago by a 14-year-old friend who has been taken into custody for an outstanding warrant.

Wednesday evening Florida City Police arrested another juvenile at the home on unrelated charges of assault with a firearm.

Coincidentally, Santiago and his brother were both featured last December in a special report on WLRN-TV after both were shot in drive boys in a one-year period.

Santiago, who admitted in the article to being in a gang, was shot in the leg.

His brother was paralyzed.

“It’s all kids with guns, you know, enough is enough. I mean what more is there to say this is happening every day but you never know it’s gonna happen to you,” said Williams. “It’s been time to put the guns down but who’s listening.”

Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho expressed his thoughts on Twitter.

[graphiq id=”4eqw7i18let” title=”Gun Discharge Incidences at Elementary Schools” width=”600″ height=”643″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/4eqw7i18let” ]

The Florida Department of Children & Families said they were devastated by the senseless death.

“We are grieving with all who loved Teddra and we will work with our local partners to provide her siblings with shelter and therapy. This family was known to the child welfare system and the department is conducting a thorough investigation into this incident. All other details remain confidential at this time.”

The children residing in the home were removed and a shelter hearing will be scheduled soon.

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