During a press conference announcing the arrests, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods emphasized gun reform, telling the media, “All the gun laws we put in place don’t prevent it, do they?”
Defending his comments, Woods said Friday on “CUOMO” that society can do better, but not at the expense of the US Constitution.
“There are things you can’t compromise on,” he said. “You have a constitutional right to own a firearm.”
The three suspects are Robert Le’Andrew Robinson, 17; Christopher De’l Atkins, 12; and Tahj Brewton, 16. Robinson and De’l Atkins have been arrested and charged with first-degree murder, while Brewton remains at large.
They are accused of shooting dead the three teenagers last week.
The first victim was 16-year-old Layla Silvernail, who was found shot near a dumpster. His partially submerged car was found near his body with a third victim found in the trunk. Police said evidence from his cellphone showed he was there of his own free will.
The second victim, a 17-year-old boy, was found by the side of the road, shot dead. Police have not released the names of the second and third victims, although family membersto the local station WCJBthat the third victim was 16-year-old Camille Quarles.
Woods told NewsNation that deteriorating family values were to blame for youth violence. He said parents should stop “spoiling” their children.
“We tell them ‘don’t do it,’ the same thing they will do it again, ‘don’t do it,’ and after a while they are conditioned to know that you just told them not to do it, but they don’t get any consequences.” ,” he said. “The 12-year-old (who was arrested) was looking for a family unit. He was influenced by certain other individuals.”
Calls for gun reform have resurfaced recently following the shooting at a Nashville private Christian school in which three students and three adults were killed. The shooter was killed by the police.
Woods argues more legislation is ineffective.
“Here in the state of Florida, inmates are not allowed to possess firearms. Do you know how many inmates we deal with who have firearms?” he says. “Can we do better? Of course we can do better, but it’s better not to just focus on one particular thing.”
Woods said it’s likely cause the affidavit will be released at short notice, and that juveniles are expected to be tried as adults.
Anyone with information on Brewton’s whereabouts is urged to come forward.
NewsNation writer Stephanie Whiteside contributed to this report.