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Death Investigation

LAKELAND, FL (December 17, 2022) - On Friday, December 16, 2022, at approximately 7:00 p.m., uniform patrol officers responded to a residence in the 5500 block of Starling Loop in reference to a shooting involving a juvenile. Upon arrival, officers found emergency medical professionals rendering aid to a 12-year-old male victim with a gunshot wound. The victim was transported to Tampa General Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries a short time later. 
Early reports indicate the victim had been dropped off by his mother for a sleepover with his friend, a 13-year-old male who lives at the residence. Detectives were told the boys were in the garage when the victim located a loaded handgun inside one of the vehicles. As the victim was handling the gun, one round was fired, accidentally shooting himself. 
Officers made contact with the victim's mother at the hospital. She was under the impression that an adult was at the home for supervision; however, no adults were at the residence. The family members of the boy who lives in the house, who were at work, were unaware that the victim was at the home as they had not given the boy permission to have any guests over.  
This is still very early in the open investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Troy Smith at 863.834.8958 or Troy.Smith@Lakelandgov.net.
The name of the victim is being withheld in accordance with Marsy's Law. There is no additional information available at this time. 
Media inquiries should be directed to mediarelations@lakelandgov.net.