SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) – A South Florida teenager is charged with manslaughter after playing with a gun that accidentally discharged and struck two friends who were both killed, according to police.
Miami-Dade Police spokesman Alvaro Zabaleta said 15-year-old Joseph Blanco was with two friends, Jose Villarreal III, 15, and Julio Labrada, 14, playing with a gun inside a home in the 19000 block of SW 320th Street around 6:30 p.m. Monday.
Zabaleta said one round struck both boys and killed them both.
“For me, it’s real sad to see two kids lose their lives like this,” neighbor Anderson Belizaire told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench.
Belizaire is horrified by the tragedy that happened inside his neighbor’s home.
“It’s like they came to visit a friend and they lost their lives like that,” Belizaire said.
One of the boys is a Miami-Dade County Public School student and the other is a charter school student.
“The Keys Gate Charter family is deeply saddened by the loss of Julio Labrada, one of our eighth grade students. Grief counselors are on site to help any students or staff who are struggling. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family as they go through this very difficult time.” –Corinne Baez, principal of Keys Gate Charter School.
It’s not known where Blanco attends school.
“It is disturbing. It is heartbreaking. One gun, one bullet destroyed three lives. Two young teens are killed. A third one arrested,” said Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
Carvalho wants parents to take action.
“I think adults need to consider very seriously how they are keeping guns at home and the precautions they take keeping weapons out of the reach of kids. They are not toys,” he said.
“I think it is so important for parents to educate their children and communicate with them about gun safety and educate their children that having a gun is a great responsibility,” said Zabaleta. “This is something to take very seriously, because once a bullet comes out it can come back.”
Tuesday morning crime scene technicians were at the home. They removed a water heater that had a bullet hole in it.
Neighbors said there were troubles inside the home.
“A wild bunch of kids that live here, they’re gang guys, you know they all gettin’ shot and playing with guns. The kid across the street just got shot a few months ago for the same thing. They’re just wild kids who run around,” said one man.
“We’ve known them for a long time, since they were little, but they’re wild, the cops have come here a lot of times and gone into the house for drugs,” said “Mary.” “It’s terrible, kids with guns, they were always in trouble.”
At a hearing at the Children’s Courthouse in Miami, CBS4 learned that the state plans to charge Blanco as an adult. That will become a formality at the next hearing on December 17th.
Blanco was not in court and his family was not there either. He is being held in secure detention until that hearing.
Meanwhile, CBS4 was told grief counselors have been sent to Keys Gate Charter School.