FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (WKRG) — Fort Walton Beach Police investigators believe two 15-year-year-olds were involved in the killing of an 18-year-old man from Crestview Thursday afternoon, and they are piecing together what might have motivated the robbery that preceded the deadly shooting.
Fort Walton Beach Police Chief Robert Bage told WKRG News 5 that the shooting at the Fort Walton Beach Recreation center was an isolated incident. The juvenile suspects are charged with armed robbery and the murder of Sean Burgos-Jimenez, 18. WKRG does not identify juveniles accused of crimes.
Police said Burgos-Jimenez drove the two suspects to the Fort Walton Beach Recreation Center parking lot for an illegal deal. Bage said his department is still working to confirm if the deal was drug or gun related.
Police told WKRG News 5 on Friday that the two 15-year-olds took loaded guns and drugs from the car and ran away.
The recreation center provided video to police. Chief Bage said Burgos-Jimenez drove around to stop the suspects before getting out to chase them down.
That is when one of the suspects fought with Burgos-Jimenez, discharging rounds from the stolen gun and shot him once in the chest, according to police.
“There is an issue with firearms being left unsecured in vehicles. Probably on a daily basis, somewhere in Okaloosa County firearms are taken in vehicle burglaries,” said Bage. “We’re still continuing our investigation into this incident, so we don’t know where the firearms originally came from. It’s one of the questions we’ll answer, and probably in the next days or weeks to try and trace back the origins of the firearms. But I can tell everybody that is watching and all your viewing audience that they need to secure their firearms. Firearms left in a car overnight is not a secure location for firearms.”
Bage commended the quick response from police and OCSO for capturing the suspects within minutes of the shooting.
“From the facts that we’ve uncovered so far, we believe that it was a robbery where some type of dispute occurred and the two teenagers armed themselves and possibly stole the firearms from the victim,” said Bage.
Police confirmed the two teens and Burgos-Jimenez knew each other. Bage said teenage violence is a problem the community needs to help solve.
“We tell parents to be involved with their teenagers or with any of their children. The more you speak with them, the more you’re involved with them, the more you know about their friends, the more you know about where they’re going.,” said Bage. “The more you’re involved in your children’s lives, the better off they’re going to be, and probably the better off the community will be.”
The recreation center is located on Jet Drive NW. Attached is the Preston Hood athletics complex, host to a youth softball tournament the week of the shooting.
Tournament staff said a team from Texas heard gunshots while meeting after their game in the parking lot.
Tournament staff said the parents and kids ran to the edge of the recreation fields and waited it out. No active games were being played on that side of the complex when the shooting happened.
The staff said 58 teams from around the region are in town for the tournament. All games and facilities were open as normal Friday. Police are working the event to patrol the area.
Bage said the Recreation Center is a safe place and not known for crime. The building sits less than a mile from the police department headquarters with surveillance cameras and safety measures.
“Generally, there’s never violent crime at the rec center, and it’s an area that we constantly patrol. We work with city staff to mitigate any security risks at the REC center. The Rec Center has very good video capacity to monitor what goes on at the REC center. We routinely walk through the rec center so the rec center is not somewhere where violent crime normally occurs”Chief Bage, Fort Walton Beach Police