Watch CBS News

Girl, 14, killed in gated Opa-locka community, brother arrested

Girl, 14, killed in gated Opa-locka community, brother arrested
Girl, 14, killed in gated Opa-locka community, brother arrested 02:40

MIAMI - An Opa-locka mom is distraught after she says an accidental shooting claimed the life of her 14-year-old daughter.

Keon Thornhill
Keon Thornhill Miami-Dade Corrections Department

It happened around 3 a.m. in a two-story townhome at Mirage at Sailboat Cove, in the 14500 block of NW 17th Path.

"My son was playing with the gun and it accidentally went off. If you have kids there should be no guns in your home. My son really doesn't live here, he was here and visiting and playing with the gun when this happened," said the teens' mother who identified herself as Martine. She was at work when the shooting happened and her daughter Brianna lost her life. 

According to police, after the shooting, the woman's 19-year-old son, Keon Thornhill, ran to the neighbors to knock on their doors to get help. One of the doors he knocked on was an off-duty Opa-locka police officer. She drove them back to the house.

When she went inside, she found the teen girl who had been shot. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue arrived but it was too late to save her. 

Detectives spoke to the family and they said they didn't know there was a gun inside the home.

The girl's mother said she was heartbroken over the loss of her daughter, Brianna.

"My daughter was a wonderful person, she was very respectful, she was a sweet girl, my baby girl, and now she is gone," she said. She told CBS4's Peter D'Oench, "She meant the world to us and we are heartbroken." 

There were four other siblings in the home at the time of the shooting. They were not harmed and are with family members. Miami-Dade police are offering resources to the family.

Thornhill was taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder. 

Police said Thoenhill initially claimed he was in an argument with his sister and went up to the 2nd floor to retrieve a weapon and then he said he gave it to his sister and she shot herself in the face. But an arrest report says that under questioning, he said "several times I shot her and it was a mistake." The report said he also gave police several different versions of what happened. 

Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta said, "From this tragedy we must learn something and parents must stress to their children and their teenagers that guns can be very dangerous. It's a constitutional right but you have to be aware of your responsibilities when you have firearms. It's important to know how to handle guns and if they are in a house make sure they are secure and out of reach of children."

CBS4 also spoke with Don Edwards, a Jacksonville-based technical expert in firearms and firearms training who has trained civilians and police agencies across the U.S. and is a former U.S. Army Ranger and a member of special forces.

He said, "I think the biggest thing is you have to realize your responsibilities as a gun owner and a homeowner and if you have a firearm in the house to prohibit and prevent unauthorized access whether it be children or others. Keep those weapons locked up whether loaded or unloaded."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.