Two teens charged for shooting guns in Vero Beach apartment complex on New Years Eve

VERO BEACH, FL –  Two Vero Beach teens are in custody after putting on their own New Years Eve fireworks show, with guns aimed at apartment units here.  The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office received multiple calls regarding shots being fired at Palms of Vero last night at 7:36 p.m. Two males, age 15 and 17, were ultimately arrested on charges that include possession of firearm by a delinquent.

In accordance with public records laws, the minors’ identities have been withheld.

Witnesses reported approximately two dozen shots were fired. Apartment Tropical Villas North, a neighboring complex, was hit by at least three stray rounds; one of which entered a living room of an occupied apartment.  Sheriff’s deputies arrived on scene and located dozens of rounds near mailboxes in the Palms of Vero complex. While responding, Dep. Rodriguez saw a white SUV driving recklessly south on Old Dixie Highway and began to approach. However, before deputies could make contact, the vehicle ran the red light at Oslo and Old Dixie Highway at speeds estimated to be more than 50 mph.

The vehicle accelerated, driving into oncoming traffic at speeds in excess of 70 mph. The deputy was able to catch up to the vehicle as it approached Highlands Drive. He observed the tag was obscured by what he believed was a plastic bag. When the suspect driver saw authorities, he further accelerated to speeds over 120 mph and fled into St. Lucie County.

Back at the apartment complex, video surveillance showed the suspect vehicle pulling into the complex just prior to the shots fired. An anonymous source provided the first suspect’s name as being one of the shooters. He was located sitting in a second vehicle with three other males. This vehicle was not involved in the high speed chase into St. Lucie County.

Inside the vehicle in plain view were two pistols, a .40-caliber Springfield XD and a 9mm SCCY. The .40-caliber was discovered to be stolen during an auto burglary out on Nov. 24. The car in question was unlocked.

Another suspect, a known burglar, admitted to possession of the Springfield XD but denied the firing of it, even though the rounds in the magazine matched the shell casings at the scene.
Investigators tied the SCCY to the first suspect, based on the location of the firearm and evidence pictures. He, too, denied knowing about the shooting. However, there were spent casings also consistent with his firearm.

Both suspects were arrested around 8 p.m. Dec. 28 and later taken to the Department of Youth Services.

“For the safety of our community, the Indian River Sheriff’s Office urges everyone in our community who owns a firearm to be a responsible gun owner and lock their guns up when they are not being legally carried,” the agency said.

The shooting incident is still under investigation. If you have video of the incident please contact the Sheriff’s Office and ask for Det. Scribner, 772-569-6700.