Tallahassee Double Shooting Results in 16-Year-Old’s Arrest

July 17, 2023 Criminal Defense, News & Announcements, Violent Crimes

Law enforcement and the State Attorney’s Office are reviewing case details from a double shooting at a Tallahassee McDonald’s to determine if a 16-year-old suspect will be protected under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law from defending himself from another shooter.

This page will provide the case details along with its relative charges, importance of criminal defense for juveniles, and explain the Stand Your Ground law.

Case Details

The Tallahassee Police Department (TPD) responded to a double shooting at the McDonald’s on West Pensacola Street that resulted in the death of two men. According to the report, several men got into an argument at the basketball courts adjacent to the Palmer Munroe Teen Center and then carried over to the McDonald’s parking lot.

Trenton Tompkins, 21, pulled out a gun and fatally shot one unidentified man who died at the scene. Tompkins then allegedly turned and pointed the gun at the 16-year-old who accompanied the shot man. The teen pulled out his own gun, and reportedly shot Tompkins in self-defense. The teenage boy then proceeded to flee from the scene.

While the teen has not yet been identified, he has been detained by TPD and is currently charged with possession of a firearm by a delinquent and tampering with physical evidence.

The initial Facebook post on TPD’s page claimed that Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law applies to this case. However, State Attorney Jack Campbell later addressed that there is still a great deal of evidence to review before confirming or ruling out if “stand your ground” is applicable.

Possession of a Firearm by a Delinquent

Under the Department of Juvenile Justice, a delinquent is defined as a person under 18-years-old who has violated the law. A delinquent act is any illegal act committed by a person under the age of 18 who is not sentenced as an adult for a felony offense.

Florida Statute Section 790.23 explains that it is unlawful for any person to own or have in their possession, custody, or control any firearm, ammunition, or electronic weapon or device, or to carry a concealed weapon, if the person is either:

  • Convicted of a felony in Florida;
  • Committed a delinquent act that would be a felony if committed by an adult (if the defendant is younger than 24);
  • Convicted of a federal felony offense;
  • Found to have committed a delinquent act in another state, territory, or country that would be a felony if committed by an adult; or
  • Found guilty of an offense that is a felony in another state, territory, or country where the penalty included imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

The exceptions to the law include a convicted felon who had their civil rights and firearm authority restored, or a person whose criminal history record has been expunged.

Any person who violates the above law can face a second-degree felony in Florida. The penalties for a second-degree felony include up to a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison.

Tampering with Evidence in Florida

Florida Statute Section 918.13 explains that it is unlawful for any person commit the following when they know that a criminal trial, investigation, or proceeding is pending from law enforcement or other legal authority:

  • Alter, destroy, conceal, or remove any record, document, or other item with the purpose to impair its verity or availability in such proceeding or investigation; or
  • Make, present, or use any record, document, or other item, knowing it to be false.

Any person who violates the above law results in a third-degree felony in Florida. The penalties for a third-degree felony include up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

However, if the violation is in relation to an investigation, proceeding, or trial relating to a capital felony can result in a second-degree felony.

Defining a “Stand Your Ground” Case

Florida’s Stand Your Ground rule explains that a person is not required to retreat or escape before using force as is typically expected for self-defense scenarios. Stand Your Ground allows for the individual to meet force with force, even deadly force, if they have reason to believe such force is necessary to prevent imminent harm, death, or the commission of a forcible felony.

The following is an example of how Stand Your Ground law can be applied in Florida:

  • John is walking alone at night in a parking lot. Out of nowhere, an unknown person approaches John aggressively with a brandished knife and demands that John give him money or valuable possessions. John felt threatened and feared for his life. He then pulls his legally owned firearm out of his pocket to shoot and kill the person trying to rob him. In this scenario, the State may find that John invoked Florida’s Stand Your Ground law as a defense to killing the robber. John and his defense attorney could argue that he reasonably believed the use of deadly force was necessary to protect himself from imminent harm. Determining that John had no legal duty to retreat or attempt to escape, Stand Your Ground may be used as a viable defense against the resulting criminal charges.

It is important to note that the applicability and outcome of a Stand Your Ground defense depends on varying factors and may differ from case to case. It is highly advised to speak with an attorney near you if you believe your case involves Stand Your Ground.

Criminal Defense for Juveniles in Florida

Criminal defense plays an especially significant role in the lives of delinquent youths in Florida. For many juveniles, their involvement in the criminal justice system may be the result of complex circumstances. This may include environmental factors or peer pressure. The importance of criminal defense for minors extends beyond the immediate legal concerns. Young people have the potential for growth and change, and a defense attorney can help emphasize the unique circumstances and challenges the juveniles face.

A skilled defense attorney can act as the minor’s advocate, ensuring that the young person’s rights are protected and to secure the best possible outcome for their future.

Contact a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

When a juvenile is accused of a crime, it can create both fear and panic in the minor and their family. Although minors typically go through the juvenile detention center rather than adult incarceration, the consequences for committing a crime as a minor can still be severe. If convicted, the minor may face time in the detention center, be required to complete a diversion program, or community service. In addition, having a crime on the minor’s permanent record can result in losing scholarships, admission to college, or result in suspension or expulsion from school.

If you are the parent of a minor accused of a crime, do not risk their future. Contact the attorneys at Pumphrey Law Firm who are experienced and knowledgeable in juvenile criminal defense. Don Pumphrey and his team will provide you with legal guidance and a defense strategy to fight the charges against the minor. Call us today at (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message to receive a free consultation.

Written by Karissa Key

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