Florida teen accused of fatally shooting his sister in argument over Christmas gifts

A 14-year-old Florida teen fatally shot his sister in an argument over Christmas gifts, only to be shot moments later by his own teenage brother, authorities said.

The argument started when the brothers, ages 14 and 15, were out shopping on Christmas Eve on Sunday with their mother and sister, and got into a spat over who was receiving more Christmas gifts, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said at a news conference.

After shopping, the boys, their mother, their 23-year-old sister, Abrielle Baldwin, and Baldwin’s two young children, aged 11 months and six years old, went to their grandmother’s home in Largo, where the argument continued.

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That’s when the 14-year-old brother “stood in the doorway, he took out his .40-calibre semi-automatic handgun, and he pointed it at (his brother) and told him he was going to shoot him in the head,” Gualtieri said.

The 14-year-old tried to get his 15-year-old brother to fight, and an uncle ended up separating them, moving the 14-year-old outside into the driveway area.

That’s where he found Abrielle carrying her 11-month-old baby in a carrier. She told him: “You all need to leave that stuff alone. Why are you trying to start it? It’s Christmas,” Gualtieri said.

The 14-year-old argued with her, called her “derogatory” terms and shot her in the chest as she was holding her infant in the carrier, Gualtieri said. As Abrielle fell to the ground, so did her baby, who was unharmed during the incident.

The 15-year-old brother then came outside, took out a .45-calibre semi-automatic handgun, exclaimed, “You shot my motherf****** sister!” and shot the 14-year-old one time in the stomach, the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff said there was an “eight second gap” between the time the 14-year-old shot Abrielle, and the time he himself was shot. At the time he was shot, he was no longer in possession of his gun, Gualtieri said.

The 15-year-old then ran, threw his gun in a nearby yard, and fled to a relative’s house in Clearwater.

Abrielle was taken to a hospital and died of her wounds.

“She was just a woman going about life, doing her thing with her two kids,” Gualtieri said. “Now you got an 11-month-old and a six-year-old boy, and their mum’s dead.”

Abrielle Baldwin (left) was allegedly fatally shot by her younger brother in an argument about Christmas presents. Credit: Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office via NBC

The 14-year-old underwent surgery and was stable. He will be released from the hospital to the state Department of Juvenile Justice.

He was charged with first-degree murder, child abuse and being a delinquent in possession of a firearm. The Pinellas-Pasco County State Attorney’s Office will determine whether or not he’ll be charged as an adult.

When police found the 15-year-old brother in Clearwater, he made self-harm statements and was taken to a mental health facility, authorities said. He was charged with attempted first-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence.

The .40-calibre handgun the 14-year-old used to shoot his sister was recovered, but the .45-calibre gun the 15-year-old used has not been, officials said.

Gualtieri said that in their investigation and interviews with locals, people said the two teenage brothers “carried guns all the time.”

He said the brothers got their guns by “stealing them from unlocked cars, they’re out in the middle of the night doing car burglaries,” noting that both were arrested in connection with numerous car burglaries in Oldsmar in May.

“These young kids, 14, 15 years old, routinely carry firearms, and this is what happens when you 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,” he said.

The 14-year-old has arrests dating back to when he was 12, including being a minor in possession of a gun, disorderly conduct, grand theft auto, auto burglaries and battery on a school employee, Gualtieri said.

“This proliferation of guns in the streets and guns in this area and guns in the hands of these kids is the worst I’ve ever seen. I don’t think we’ve ever seen it this bad. I really think we need tougher laws to deal with these kids. They are not getting the consequences they should get,” he said.

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