Belleview teens were shooting each other while wearing armored vest when boy killed
Apr 8, 2022 : WESH 2 – Kelsi Thorud
BELLEVIEW, Fla. —
Two teenagers have been arrested after a 16-year-old was shot and killed in Belleview Sunday.
According to police, the shooting happened inside a mobile home in the Gateway Homes of Belleview mobile home park along SE 52ND Court around 7 p.m. They found the victim, 16-year-old Christopher Leroy Broad Jr. suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to the hospital where he died.
Over the past few days, investigators have determined that another teen, 17, and Broad, were taking turns shooting at each other while wearing a body armor style vest.
“I saw a teenage boy come outside all hysterical screaming,” said Joe Vanhouten.
Vanhouten is an Army veteran who lives next door. He saw the immediate aftermath of the shooting.
“I was always taught from a young age you never play with guns,” he said.
According to arrest affidavits, three teenage friends, including Broad, lived at the home with one of their fathers. On the day of the shooting, they had a couple more friends over to hang out.
The lead detective discovered that one of the teens recorded Snapchat videos of the shooting. He said one of the videos first shows Broad shooting at one of the others who was wearing a “tan plate carrier style vest.” Another video shows how they took turns and Broad was shot at next five times by a 9 mm handgun.
“It seems weird to me that they would have a body armor vest. Why would you have one?” said Vanhouten.
According to the arrest affidavit, one of the teens told police they have shot at the vest before and no bullets went through it. The report also states the alleged shooter said one of his shots struck Broad in an area not covered by the vest. The medical examiner said he died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.
“A sad deal that teenage boys being I guess being teenagers, not realizing the possible consequences of what they were doing,” said Vanhouten.
Police now have the gun after serving a search warrant on the home. According to the arrest affidavit, the alleged shooter told police the gun belongs to his father who leaves it at home for protection.
“It’s just a sad story all the way around,” said Vanhouten.
Police say the 17-year-old who allegedly shot and killed Broad is now charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child with a firearm.
Another teen, also 17, is charged with providing false information to law enforcement.
Police say that teen was interviewed as a witness to the shooting and misled officers about what took place by blaming the shooting on other people like the other friends at the home and telling the 911 dispatcher that the house was shot by unknown suspects.
WESH 2 is not identifying the teens until they have been formally charged as adults.
WESH 2 tried calling the alleged shooter’s family, but they are not accepting calls. They also did not comment when we visited the neighborhood.
Authorities want everyone to know that guns should never be used this way.
“I’m sure these kids never envisioned that a death was going to occur as a result of their behavior,” Dr. David Thomas, a forensics professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, said.
Thomas said many people don’t understand armored vests.
“The biggest misnomer is that they’re bullet proof because they’re not. They’re ballistic vests and they’re rated on scales of what type of bullet they’ll stop,” Thomas said.
Thomas says even a police officer wearing the best vest wouldn’t want to get shot in it.
“That trauma is ungodly, what the body goes through,” Thomas said.
According to the police report in this case, the alleged shooter said one of his shots hit Christopher in an area not covered by the vest.
Thomas told WESH 2 News, sadly, he thinks a lot of teens don’t understand just how dangerous guns are.
“If you don’t know anything about the gun, if you don’t know anything about the equipment, just leave it alone. Stay safe and leave it alone because it’s not something to play with,” Thomas said.