MANATEE — Investigators are still looking into how a gun made it into the hands of a 16-year-old boy who allegedly shot and killed another teen this week, according to Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
“There are so many ways to get guns today. It’s really not surprising. This certainly isn’t the first instance of that and it won’t be the last. If you want to get a gun, you’ll get a gun,” said Dave Bristow, public information officer for Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
“A 16-year-old had no business having a gun.”
Dejuan Williams, 18, was shot and killed just before 10 p.m. Tuesday after he came home to find his 14-year-old sister had two teen boys inside the house.
Williams’ parents did not allow boys over when his younger sister was home alone. Williams noticed a back window was broken out and he began looking around when he saw one of the boys, reportedly 16-year-old Byron Galloway hiding behind a shed in the backyard, according to Sheriff’s Office reports.
Williams, who had a baseball bat, confronted Galloway.
Galloway said he was sorry and then allegedly brandished a gun and shot Williams in the chest, according to reports. Galloway was arrested on a charge of second degree murder and aggravated assault. He was booked at the Juvenile Assessment Center on Wednesday.
The State Attorney’s Office has 21 days from the date of his arrest to determine whether Galloway will be charged as an adult.
Mark Lipinski, a criminal defense attorney, said depending on the facts of the case, it’s possible Galloway could have immunity from prosecution.
“If (Williams) was coming at him or threatening him with a baseball bat and the defendant had a right to be there and had retreated, he might have the statutory right to shoot to kill and probably has the right to ask the judge to dismiss it because he has immunity,” said Lipinski citing justifiable use of force laws.
Galloway’s family members declined to comment at his residence Friday.
According to school officials, Galloway was a student at Southeast High School and expected to begin his sophomore year.
He played a partial season of varsity basketball and junior varsity football for one semester. He had no prior arrest record, according to authorities.
Williams was a 2009 Bayshore High graduate who played football and ran track. Friends called him “Speedy,” a nickname he garnered running. He had dreams of becoming a dentist.
His father, Calvin Williams, stood in the afternoon rain cleaning out his son’s car, a light blue Buick that had messages written for Williams.
Spring flowers and roses adorned the windshield and back window.
When Williams was shot, witnesses found him lying on the ground. They picked him up and carried him to the front yard where they placed him on the trunk of his car, according to reports.
“I know his friends are coming by to leave messages. I thought I would clean it up a little,” said Calvin Williams, removing several CDs and clearing the seats. “It’s hard. I just can’t understand why these young teenagers are so angry.
“Now it’s almost commonplace for them to have a gun or result to violence. ... He was a respectable young man. I just hate for his life to come to an end like that.”
Before moving to York Drive, Williams had lived in a higher crime area, Calvin Williams said. His mother had moved the family to residential neighborhood, in hopes of getting them away from that element, he said.
“I was so proud of him for sticking in there and wanting something better for himself,” Williams said. “I miss him, and I was very proud of him.”
No other arrests have been made in Williams’ case.
“At this time, it’s just an ongoing investigation,” Bristow said.