The girls have been charged with premeditated murder

By Steve Helling
Updated January 08, 2015 03:30 PM
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A family conflict turned deadly Tuesday, when police say a teenaged girl grabbed her parents’ gun and fatally shot her 16-year-old brother.

According to police, four children – ages 16, 15, 11 and 3 – were left alone at their home in rural Columbia County, Florida. At some point, the 15-year-old allegedly got a gun from her parents’ bedroom and used it to shoot her brother.

Investigators say that her 11-year-old sister assisted in the murder, but they haven’t specified the role of the younger girl.

The two girls were found walking along a road close to their home. Police say they confessed to the shooting.

According to a police report obtained by local TV station WJAX, the older girl claimed that her brother had beaten her and locked her in her room. When he fell asleep, she said she got a gun out of her parents’ room and shot him.

Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter told reporters that the door to the parents’ bedroom was locked, so the older girl broke an exterior window to the room and climbed inside to retrieve a 9mm handgun.

The parents were out of town during the shooting. The father is a truck driver and was on the job three hours away. His wife was with him. They have both been charged with child neglect, a felony punishable by up to 15 years.

The 3-year-old was in the house but did not witness the shooting. That child is now in custody of the Florida Department of Children and families.

Police are trying to determine what, exactly, went wrong in the family. On Wednesday, they released a 30-page report that details alleged sex abuse, incest and neglect in the home.

“There’s going to be 100,000 whys,” Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter told reporters at a press conference. “We might not ever know why this child acted like this.”