Cops: Teen Angry Over Christmas Gifts Fatally Shot Sister

Teen boys, 14 and 15, are now in custody in Pinellas County, Florida
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2023 7:41 AM CST
Sister Fatally Shot Trying to Quash Brothers' Xmas Eve Fight
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/carlballou)

A Christmas shopping trip ended in tragedy for one Florida family. Per NBC Miami and WFLA, authorities in Pinellas County say a 14-year-old became upset on Christmas Eve after believing his 15-year-old brother was getting more gifts for the holiday and pulled a gun on him at their grandmother's house after their shopping expedition, threatening to shoot him in the head. The boys' 23-year-old sister, Abrielle Baldwin, was at the house at the time to drop off her two young children and started to argue with the 14-year-old over his behavior, per Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.

That's when, according to Gualtieri's office, the 14-year-old insulted his sister, then shot her with a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun. The 15-year-old then allegedly shot his younger brother in the stomach with a different gun, proclaiming, "You shot my motherf---ing sister." Baldwin died at a nearby hospital of a single gunshot wound to the chest, per Gualtieri. The 14-year-old was also taken to the hospital, where he underwent surgery. The 15-year-old, meanwhile, is said to have thrown his gun in a nearby yard and was arrested at a family member's home in Clearwater, per the sheriff's office. Authorities say he's since been taken to a mental health facility after alluding to self-harm.

The Tampa Bay Times, which IDs the teens due to the seriousness of the alleged crimes, also details their past infractions: The 14-year-old has been charged in the past with vehicle theft, battery on a school employee, and battery on a law enforcement officer, according to Gualtieri. The 15-year-old, meanwhile, was arrested alongside his younger brother in May for multiple car burglaries; both also have faced charges previously for possession of a firearm as a minor. The charges they're facing this time include first-degree murder, child abuse, and being a minor in possession of a firearm for the 14-year-old, and attempted first-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence for the 15-year-old.

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It's the gun issue that has Gualtieri most on edge, with more than a dozen shootings since September in the area where Baldwin was killed. He believes the two guns used in Sunday's shooting were stolen, adding that his office has received reports over the last month of at least 17 guns that were stolen from unlocked vehicles, leading him to make what seems like an obvious warning. "People can't leave their car doors unlocked and leave their guns in their cars," he says, per FOX 13. "It's got to stop." Gualtieri also wants stricter penalties for youth offenders. "These kids need to get locked up," he says, per the Times. "Send a message." (More shooting stories.)

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