Florida Teen Dies After Friends ‘Take Turns Shooting Each Other’ While Wearing Body Armor

Two Florida teens have been arrested in relation to the death of their 16-year-old friend. Joshua Vining, 17, and Colton Whitler, 17, originally blamed 16-year-old Christopher Leroy Broad Jr’s death on “unknown people” who opened fire on their home, but as it turns out, the boys had been taking turns shooting one another for fun and things went drastically wrong.

Belleview Police

  1. The teens wore body armor while shooting at each other. Presumably, all involved believed that the armor would protect them from injury, but that certainly wasn’t the case. Not only was Broad hurt by the gunfire, it killed him.
  2. Videos of the incident were posted to Snapchat. According to WKMG, two other teens were present at the time, including 18-year-old Evan Vowell, who posted two separate videos on Snapchat. He told police that Vining showed the group a 9mm handgun and the supposed bulletproof vest and asked if they “had ever seen anyone get shot with a bulletproof vest on.”
  3. The first few shots went off without incident. Vowell’s first video appears to show Vining wearing the voice as Broad fires the gun at him once. For the second video, the boys switched roles and Vining shot Broad once. Broad then nodded, and Vining shot him four more times. One of those bullets hit him in an area uncovered by the vest.
  4. Vining did try to save his friend. When police arrived at the scene, they found Vining performing CPR on Broad. Broad was then rushed to HCA Florida Ocala Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Vining was also taken to the hospital to be treated for a panic attack as police found him “distraught” and unable to say what happened.
  5. They all tried to lie about what happened. Understandably worried about getting in trouble, Whitler told a 911 dispatcher that unknown individuals fired at the home and hit Broad. Police then spoke to Vining, who claimed he fired at a car leaving the aera after Broad was shot using a gun his father gave him for protection. Both Vining and Whitler claimed two other boys were present that had left after the shooting.
  6. The other teens present told the truth. One juvenile said to be present at the shooting said he didn’t see it happen, but Vowell outright admitted to investigators that he had videos of the incident but had deleted the clip of the fatal shooting. He allowed investigators to take his phone to recover the deleted video.
  7. Both boys are being charged as adults. Vining has been charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child with a firearm while Whitler has been charged with providing false information about the shooting to police. Belleview Police and Marion County prosecutors are said to have deliberated at length on whether or not to charge Vining and Whitler as adults. Vining’s bond was set at $30,000 while Whitler’s was set at $1,000. Both have since been released.
Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill