A Florida sheriff slammed society, schools, and gun control law rhetoric while announcing the arrests of two teens responsible for murdering three other teens and one teen suspect still on the loose.
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods blasted the media and gun control advocates, placing blame on guns instead of individual responsibility when asked how the teens acquired the gun used to kill three teens.
“Car, burglaries. All the gun laws we got in place didn’t prevent it, did it? Neither will any new ones because here’s the fact, the bad guy is going to get a gun, no matter what law you have put in place. These juveniles should not even possess a handgun.”
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“There are individuals out there viewing … who want to blame the one thing that has no ability or the capacity to commit the crime itself, and that’s the gun,” Woods said. “These individuals committed the crime.”
Deputies in Florida have arrested two boys, ages 12 and 17, in connection to the murders of three teen friends in Marion County. One teen suspect remains at large.
“My emotions are all over the place because I am so, so proud of my guys and girls,” Sheriff Woods said during a news conference on Friday.
Woods said Friday that the six teens were together when the murders happened.
“We had out there it was gang-related. We have nothing specific to say that it was a rivalry. However, in some shape or another, each were associated with a gang,” Woods said.
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A witness heard gunshots at the time detectives believe the three teens were all murdered, according to the sheriff’s office.
At some point, the juvenile suspects turned on the three victims in what Woods described as a robbery.
“These three individuals turned on our victims and murdered them. They fled the scenes and left a lot of evidence in their wake,” Woods said.
Woods then focused back on personal responsibility and accountability.
“The fact is – society fails them. We do not hold our juveniles accountable. We minimize their actions,” Woods said Friday. “I am a father, but here’s the one thing my boys know: growing up, the freaking barber had my permission to whip their asses.”
Woods continued, “Our school districts, not just here, across this state and across this nation need to stop minimizing the actions of their students. Hold them accountable. That’s where the failure is.”
Last Thursday night, deputies responded to the area of Forest Lakes Park on SE 183rd Avenue Road in Ocala. When they arrived, they located a female lying beside the road suffering from a gunshot wound. The victim was transported to the hospital in critical condition and later identified as 16-year-old Layla Silvernail.
On Saturday, more deputies responded to the area of Malauka Loop and Malauka Loop Trace in reference to information that Layla’s vehicle was partially submerged at the edge of a nearby body of water.
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Members of the MCSO Major Crimes Unit, Forensic Unit, and Underwater Recovery Team responded to collect evidence and recover the vehicle.
After obtaining a search warrant for Layla’s vehicle, a search of her vehicle was conducted and a third victim was located. The 16-year-old female had also sustained a gunshot wound and was pronounced dead.
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