Dunedin teen shot to death by friend

5:27 PM, May 4, 2012   |    comments
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Previous mug shot from arrest on charges including shooting a deadly missile into an occupied dwelling, felony battery, aggravated battery and vehicle burglary



Dunedin, Florida - Crime scene technicians process a Dunedin home, but if what investigators say happened on Union Street is true, it doesn't take an expert to recognize the dangerous mix -- drugs, alcohol, teens and a gun.

"These kids, were all kids on the wrong track," said Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri at a Friday afternoon news conference.

According to the Sheriff, a party at the duplex on Wednesday turned deadly. Four friends had just purchased a stolen handgun. They were drinking, smoking pot and K2, and playing around with the 9 millimeter. The party ended after 17-year-old Michael Parker III put the Ruger's barrel up to Justin Cleveland's head.

"He put the gun right up here to his forehead," said the Sheriff, gesturing with his hand. "They engaged in some playful bantering and at that point Michael Parker pulled the trigger."

Gualtieri says Parker had pulled the magazine off the gun, but a bullet was still in the chamber.

The teens panicked and fled. Parker and Devan Reed drove up to Pasco County and ditched the gun in a pond. Sheriff's divers recovered the gun on Friday.

The friends agreed not to say anything, but on Thursday night Reed had second thoughts and called the Sheriff's office.

Deputies came to the house and found the corpse. Gualtieri described the scene, "They found the victim Justin Cleveland sitting in the chair with a marijuana pipe in one hand, a beer in the other, shot in the forehead. He'd been dead since Wednesday night."

An 18-year-old is dead. A 17-year-old charged with manslaughter.

Eric Jenkins didn't know the teens, but heard about what happened and watched the activity at the house. Jenkins is young himself, just 21, but old enough to see the waste.

"It's just a shame; a lot of these young kids are dying now days and it's just terrible to see another young person gone," he said shaking his head.

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