PORT ST. LUCIE — After a car crashed as it rushed to a hospital Friday night, a teenager walked away from the vehicle and tossed a gun across a street near St. Lucie Medical Center.
Police arrived to find a 15-year-old boy who had been shot laying on the ground near the vehicle. He later died.
Monday afternoon, police described during a news conference the events that led up to the fatal shooting.
Assistant Chief Richard Del Toro said police arrested a 17-year-old boy from Fort Pierce, Saturday morning, who confessed to negligently shooting the 15-year-old in the back seat of the car.
The teen accused of the shooting faces felony charges of aggravated manslaughter of a child, carrying a concealed firearm, tampering with physical evidence and a misdemeanor charge of unlawful possession of a firearm by a minor, according to an arrest affidavit.
Del Toro said the State Attorney's office will decide if the teen will be charged as a juvenile or as an adult. Attorneys couldn't be reached Monday.
Investigators said the two boys hopped in a car together in Fort Pierce with two other people in front and headed to Jensen Beach Friday night.
The boys knew each other from Port St. Lucie High School, police said, and had spent the day together.
In their possession were two 9 mm handguns in a bag, Del Toro said.
While riding in the car, the 15-year-old handed the 17-year-old a magazine to load into the handgun he was holding.
As the car was near the intersection of Southeast Crosstown Parkway and Southeast Airoso Boulevard, the 17-year-old pulled the handgun out of the bag,
He then negligently pulled the trigger and shot the 15-year-old in the chest, Del Toro said.
"I don't like to say it's accidental. I like to say negligent because anytime you handle a firearm it should be with care," Del Toro said. "First of all, no juvenile should be in possession of a firearm."
The two other people in the front seats said they heard a loud bang and the 15-year-old say "he shot me."
The witnesses said the 17-year-old then said "it wasn't me" or "It was an accident," according to the arrest affidavit.
The driver, a male, demanded the 17-year-old hand him the gun, investigators said, and immediately sped toward St. Lucie Medical Center.
As the group drove away from the intersection, Del Toro said the 17-year-old threw the magazine out the window.
On the way to the hospital, the car crashed at the intersection of Southeast Tiffany Avenue and U.S. 1, disabling the vehicle as it got closer to the hospital.
The driver stopped near Southeast Hillmoor Drive and Southeast Tiffany Avenue near St. Lucie Medical Center.
Someone in the vehicle then called 911 as the driver ran to the hospital looking for help.
The 17-year-old stepped out of the vehicle and threw the gun across Southeast Tiffany Avenue, according to a female passenger, Del Toro said.
Del Toro said the 17-year-old also threw another firearm that was in the car across the street.
Investigators and a K9 unit eventually found the weapons and magazine thrown from the vehicle.
Lydia Martin, a spokeswoman for St. Lucie County School District confirmed the two boys were Port St. Lucie High School student, but did not disclose their grade levels.
"Students wanting grief support can contact the school's front office and grief support will be available on site," Martin said.
Del Toro lamented the shooting and death of the teen.
"It is a tragedy," Del Toro said. "(When) kids do things that they shouldn't do, anytime it results in a loss of life, it's a tragedy for any parent."
Mauricio La Plante is a breaking news reporter for TCPalm focusing on Martin County. Follow him on Twitter @mslaplantenews or email him at Mauricio.LaPlante@tcpalm.com.
This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: 15-year-old Port St. Lucie High student dead after shooting