Teen arrested in boy's accidental shooting on basketball court

Teen arrested in boy's accidental shooting on Orlando basketball court

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A 17-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with the accidental shooting of a 16-year-old boy on a basketball court at an Orlando park.

The suspect, who is not being identified because he is a minor, is facing several charges, including discharging a firearm in public and improper exhibition of a firearm.

The victim, identified as Mario Whitehead, was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he was in stable condition. Doctors said he could be paralyzed from the "stomach area" down, according to a police report.

On Monday afternoon, a crowd had gathered by basketball courts at Willie Mays Park in Orlando. According to several witnesses, who are all minors, the victim was playing basketball when a .380-type gun from the suspect's jacket went off, and a bullet struck the victim in the right shoulder, police say.

"They heard the shot, and he hit the ground," said the victim's brother, Marvin Giles.  "He kept screaming that he can't feel his legs, and I told him, 'You're probably in shock, so just chill!'"

The boy's uncle said his nephew had plans to join the military.  "He gets straight A's, goes to school every day. Don't do nothing. Don't sell no drugs. You know, just an innocent kid, just trying to go to the park and get exercise," said Walter Giles.

Early Tuesday evening, family members gathered at the basketball court where Whitehead was shot to hold a vigil.  Mario's mother, Marvel Jiles, says her son is in good spirits, despite the shooting.

"I'm just holding on. I haven't slept since my child got shot. I haven't slept, I haven't eaten. I'm just trying to hold on," she said.  "Everybody knows, we are hurting and people around the world are hurting, because of guns, and it needs to stop. I don't want to see my child like that, and I wouldn't want to see someone else's child like that."

Doctors have told the family that the next 48 hours will go a long way in determining whether or not Whitehead will ever walk again.


FOX 35's Mike Synan contributed to this report.

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