| 24 July 2024, Wednesday |

Florida boy, 11, shoots teenagers after row at American football practice

An 11-year-old boy has been arrested after shooting a pair of 13-year-olds after a row at an American football practice in central Florida.

After a physical fight, the attacker retrieved a gun from his mother’s car and fired a single shot, police said.

Both victims were stable after being hit by the same bullet. One was struck in the arm and the other in the torso, requiring surgery.

The boy faces a charge of attempted second-degree murder.

Some adults would probably also be charged, as the firearm was not properly stored in a locked box, Apopka police chief Mike McKinley said.

In a news conference on Tuesday morning, McKinley described the previous night’s incident at Northwest Recreation Complex as “not good”.

“We shouldn’t have 11-year-olds who have access to guns and think they can resolve a dispute with a firearm,” he said.

McKinley said similar shootings were happening “way too often” and that the children manging to get their hands on firearms appeared to be getting “younger every day”.

But he described the incident as a “first” which went far beyond the touchline scuffles sometimes seen between parents at youth sports fixtures.

It was not clear what led to the initial altercation, which occurred during a Pop Warner football practice. Pop Warner – named after a famed college coach – describes itself as the nation’s leading youth football, cheerleading and dance organisation.

The dispute between the trio moved from the sports facility itself to the car park, before the attacker retrieved the weapon from his mother’s car, McKinley said. Officers arrived after about four minutes, soon after 20:20 local time.

The victim who was hit in the arm was treated and released from hospital the same night, while the victim hit in the torso was in a stable condition after undergoing surgery.

Neither they nor the attacker have been named for legal reasons.