PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - A 16-year-old Palm Beach Gardens teen died on Thursday night after he was accidentally shot in the head on Tuesday, according to Teri Barbera, spokeswoman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.
Detectives said Matthew Sylvester was shot around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday morning at a home in the 3700 block of Bahama Road in suburban Palm Beach Gardens. They think Sylvester was inspecting a 22-caliber rifle with his friends, all teen boys between the ages of 15 and 19 when it went off, hitting him in the head.
Paramedics with Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue rushed him to St. Mary's Medical Center.
"It's very shocking," said Erin Reed, who lives nearby. "One of my roommates came and knocked on the door and said there were a whole bunch of cops outside."
Reed also believes the shooting was accidental.
"It had to have been an accident," she said. "There's no way that they did it on purpose. No way."
Detectives spent hours talking to Sylvester's friends. They removed two large rifles from the home; however, they haven't said who they belong to or if anyone is facing charges. Brandi Luff knows the teen who lives at the house.
"I know him because he was one of my best friend's younger brothers and I would say "hi," but I wouldn't think they'd have a gun," she said.
Reed wasn't surprised there was a rifle in the home. She said many of her neighbors like to hunt. Still, she was surprised the teens had access to the rifle.
"We have a safe and we keep our gun locked up because we have an eight year old kid in the house," she said. "We have two concealed weapons permits and they (guns) stay with trigger locks on them or in a gun safe."
Detectives haven't said where the rifle was or who had access to it. They're still investigating. The teens and the family who live at the home were too shocked to speak publicly.
According to our news partner, the Sun Sentinel, in the last year, South Florida has had nearly a dozen serious accidental shootings.
Liz Flynn of WPTV contributed to this report.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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