On April 25, 2017 Tedra King, 13, hugged her brother in the kitchen of their Florida City, Florida home. It was Martaevious Santiago’s 17th birthday. As they separated, Martaevious pointed a loaded semiautomatic handgun at her. He pulled the trigger, killing her instantly.
Martaevious, whose life has been marred by gun violence and who was featured as part of a series of stories earlier this year on youth surviving gun violence on WLRN, called police after the shooting and said he had accidentally shot his sister.
Police charged him with aggravated manslaughter of a child and possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony.
The charge does not assume intent, police said.
Martaevious said he got the gun, a semiautomatic handgun, from a 14-year-old friend whom police did not name, but who was also arrested for an unrelated outstanding warrant.
His stepfather, Vernon Williams, said he was at home during the shooting and so was Tedra’s mother, Lakesha Bess, who held her daughter after she was shot. Williams told WPLG that Martaevious said he had made a terrible mistake.
The WLRN story, which ran in February, explained how a week before last Christmas, Martaevious was in a car in front of his home when gunfire broke out. He was shot in the leg. His friend was shot in the head and survived.
Earlier last year, Martaevious’ younger brother Martwan Santiago, 15, was shot four times while playing outside his apartment.
The bullet that hit Martwan’s spine left him paralyzed from the waist down.
“I never knew how he was feeling until I got shot. Now, I feel the pain,” Martaevious told WLRN in February. “Hang around the wrong crowd of people, this is what happens.”
Police believe the gun that ended Tedra’s life was obtained in an earlier burglary.
Tedra, known as Rosie, was part of an extended family of nine brothers and sisters. A candlelight vigil was held yesterday evening to remember her young life.
Please, the U.S government should act now to stop the madness.