Lakeland 12-year-old shot, killed after finding gun at friend’s house during sleepover

A 12-year-old boy lost his life Friday night after police say he accidentally shot himself with a gun he found at a friend’s house. 

According to the Lakeland Police Department, officers were called to a home in the 5500 block of Starling Loop around 7 p.m. for reports of a child that was shot.

Upon arrival, police found emergency medical professionals rendering aid to a 12-year-old who was suffering from a gunshot wound. 

The child was taken to Tampa General Hospital where he died. 

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Police say the victim had been dropped off at his 13-year-old friend’s house earlier in the evening for a sleepover. 

Detectives were told the boys were in the garage when the victim located a loaded handgun inside one of the vehicles. As the victim was handling the gun, one round was fired, accidentally shooting himself. 

When officers spoke with the victim’s mom at the hospital, she told them she thought an adult was at the home supervising the kids, but no adults were at the residence. 

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According to investigators, family members of the boy who lives in the house were at work and unaware that the victim was at the home because they had not given the boy permission to have any guests over.  

The shooting is under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Troy Smith at 863-834-8958 or