Two male Florida siblings have been arrested and charged after one of them allegedly fatally shot their sister amid a Christmas Eve argument over presents. The second brother then allegedly shot the other for shooting their sister.
A 14-year-old brother is accused of fatally shooting his 23-year-old sister, Abrielle Baldwin, in the chest, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday. His 15-year-old sibling then allegedly shot him in response.
The 14-year-old is charged with first-degree murder, child abuse and being a delinquent in possession of a firearm, officials said. His 15-year-old brother is charged with attempted first-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence.
Pinellas County Sheriff's deputies said they responded to a report of a shooting at a Largo residence on Dec. 24, where they found two individuals suffering from gunshot wounds.
Abrielle Baldwin and the 14-year-old both suffered single gunshot wounds, officials said. Both were transported to a local hospital where Baldwin was declared deceased. The 14-year-old is now in stable condition, according to Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.
Gualtieri said an initial investigation revealed that Baldwin, the 14-year-old and the 15-year-old, all of whom are siblings, went Christmas shopping with their mother and Baldwin's two sons, an 11-month-old and a 6-year-old.
According to Gualtieri, the younger brother was jealous that their mother was getting his older brother more gifts while they were Christmas shopping, and a "family spat" ensued.
The family then left the store and went to their grandmother's house where they continued the argument, with Baldwin's sons intending to stay with her grandmother while she went to work.
The 14-year-old then allegedly produced a pistol and pointed it at his older brother, declaring that he was going to shoot him in the head and attempting to get his brother to fight him, which the older brother refused to do. Their uncle, who was also in the home, then separated the brothers and took the younger brother out into the driveway, according to Gualtieri.
Baldwin then allegedly told the 14-year-old to stop arguing because it was Christmas, which escalated the argument, with the 14-year-old then allegedly declaring that he would shoot her and the infant she was holding in a baby carrier, after which he shot Baldwin in the chest, according to the sheriff.
The 15-year-old then walked outside the home with another firearm and allegedly shot his younger brother in the stomach because he had shot their sister. He then left the scene, tossed the firearm into a nearby yard and fled to a relative's house, Gualtieri said.
The gun the 15-year-old allegedly threw into the nearby yard has not yet been recovered, according to Gualtieri, who said the gun allegedly used to shoot Baldwin has been recovered.
Law enforcement was able to find the 15-year-old after he contacted his mother. He has been taken to a mental health facility because he made "self-harm statements," according to the sheriff, who said once he is released from the facility, the 15-year-old will be transferred to the custody of the Pinellas Juvenile Assessment Center.
The younger brother is recovering in the hospital after undergoing surgery for his injuries. Upon his release he will be transferred to the custody of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, according to the sheriff.
According to Gualtieri, minors have been obtaining guns through car burglaries or by purchasing inexpensive stolen weapons on the street.
"In the last thirty days, we've taken reports where seventeen guns have been stolen from unlocked cars," Gualtieri said.
According to people interviewed by the sheriff's department, the teen brothers carried guns on them "all the time," Gualtieri said.
"This is what happens when you've got young delinquents that carry guns - they get upset, they don't know how to handle stuff so they just take out their guns and start shooting each other and one of them kills his sister," Gualtieri said.
Gualtieri said both brothers were arrested for committing "numerous car burglaries" in May 2023, while the younger brother has arrests dating back to when he was 12 years old.
"This proliferation of guns on the streets and guns in this area and guns in the hands of these kids is the worst that I've ever seen. I don't think that we've ever seen it this bad," Gualtieri said. "I really think that we need tougher laws to deal with these kids. As you can see with their criminal histories, they are not getting the consequences that they should get that keep them from doing it again and again."