Mother shot by her brother on Christmas Eve
Evan Axelbank reports
PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. – The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office says a family dispute over Christmas gifts ended with the death of a young mother in Largo on Christmas Eve.
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says the ordeal began as the family was out Christmas shopping Sunday night.
Gualtieri says Damarcus Coley, 14, was upset that his brother, Darcus Coley, 15, was getting more gifts than him.
When the teens got back to their grandmother’s house at 2357 22nd Avenue Southwest, the argument continued.
While outside the home, Gualtieri says Abrielle Baldwin, 23, told her brother to stop arguing over the gifts.
Pictured: Abrielle Baldwin.
That’s when, Gualtieri says, Damarcus told his sister he was going to shoot her and the baby she had in a carrier.
Gualtieri says Damarcus shot and killed his sister, who was also a mother of two. The sheriff says Darcus then shot his brother Damarcus.
“She was just a woman going about life with her two kids, trying to make a living and trying to make it,” said Gualtieri.
Full news conference: Pinellas County Sheriff on Largo homicide
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office says a teen shot and killed his sister on Christmas Eve.
When Damarcus pulled the trigger and shot his sister, deputies said it sent Baldwin’s 11-month-old son falling to the ground.
Damarcus Coley is in stable condition in the hospital. Gualtieri says he will be taken into custody when he is released from the hospital on a first degree murder charge for shooting his sister. Darcus Coley was also arrested and charged with attempted first-degree murder.
Authorities said both teens, especially Damarcus who has a history of violence against school staff and law enforcement, has been let off the hook too easily by the juvenile justice system.
Previous booking photos for Darcus and Damarcus Coley. Courtesy: Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
“They are not getting the consequences that they should get that keep them from doing it again and again and again,” the sheriff said.
Gualtieri emphasized during a Tuesday morning news conference that there needs to be stronger laws to prevent teens from getting their hands on guns.
“This proliferation of guns on the streets and guns in this area and guns in the hands of these kids is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” Gualtieri said. “I don’t think we’ve ever seen it this bad.”
Courtesy: Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
The sheriff says the area around 22nd Avenue SW in Largo has been subject to extra patrols lately, with 13 gun-related incidents since September.
He says his office has gotten reports of 17 guns stolen from unlocked cars. He suspects the guns used in this shooting were obtained that way.
“People can’t leave their car doors unlocked and leave their guns in their cars. It’s got to stop,” Gualtieri said.