Sweet 16 shooting: Family of alleged killer claims self defense

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - It was a birthday party that ended in bloodshed.  Two teens killed and their alleged killer is behind bars. But the version of what happened at Newcomb Hall Saturday night changes depending on whom you ask.

"I know him as a good guy been going to school, very intelligent," said a relative of 20-year-old Rijkard Jean- Baptiste, who asked us not to reveal her identity but she describes life for the family, over the past four days.

"Everybody was shocked, everybody shocked,"

Shocked she says over what Riviera Beach police now say Jean-Baptiste is accused of doing.

According to investigators, Jean-Baptiste showed up at Newcomb Hall to for a sweet 16 birthday bash Saturday night.  But by 11:30 the bash turned bloody when, police say,  Jean-Baptiste, armed with a gun he supposedly bought on the street for a few hundred bucks, shot and killed two teens.

Rivera Beach Police Chief Clarence Williams boils the shootings down to one motive, "we had two young people who had a beef and  they decided to settle it with firearms," he said.

Rijkard Jean-Baptiste's family shares another.

"I said 'why did this happen?' He said, 'I was just trying to defend myself.' "

According family members, Jean-Baptiste who was shot in the leg, allegedly by one of the victim's that night, showed up to the party to meet up with old friends. When gunshots rang out, the suspect told his family that he got caught in the crossfire.

"He said he only shot one person and the one person who shot him in the leg was coming to blow his head off and that's when he pulled the gun to shoot at the person," said the family member.

Jean-Baptiste moved here from Haiti with his parents in 2005.  For now, he will remain behind bars without bond after attending a birthday party his older sister now says he regrets. "When he was in the hospital he kept crying 'why did I go to that stupid party anyways.' "

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