Aerial: Golden Gate Estates shooting
Alex Crain charged in shooting death of ...
GOLDEN GATE ESTATES — A 14-year-old has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the shooting death of his parents at a Golden Gate Estates home this morning, officials said.
Alex Crain, a freshman at Palmetto Ridge High School, is in custody. The motive is still under investigation. Officials said Alex will be charged as a juvenile and it will be up to the state attorney's office to charge him as an adult.
Deputies recovered the weapon they believe was used in the shooting.
Sheriff's deputies arrived at 8:40 a.m. at the home, 4240 47th Ave. NE, and came in contact with Alex who surrendered. Deputies entered the home and found 40-year-old Thomas Crain and 39-year-old Kelly Crain, said Michelle Batten, a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.
Alexander Crain has been booked and will be housed in the Collier County Juvenile Detention Center.
Investigators began executing a search warrant at the home around 11:50 a.m., she said.
Detectives from the Major Crimes Bureau and Crime Scene Investigation unit are on the scene.
Jasmine Portal, 15, who knows Alex and lives on 47th Avenue NE, said she last spoke with him Wednesday when they were riding a bus home from Palmetto Ridge High School, which they both attend.
"I never had a problem with him," she said. "I've known him since seventh grade. He's really smart, he's really nice. He always hung around the smart kids, never the bad kids."
Anthony Oleynichak, 17, who also attends school with Alex, echoed Portal’s comments.
“I heard he was a good kid,” Oleynichak said. “He had a lot of friends and no problems with people. He wasn’t a troublemaker.”
Kimberly West, who lives on 45th Street and said she's been a family friend of the Crains for about a dozen years, arrived at the crime scene distraught. She said the couple has two other sons, including an 18-year-old who's arriving home from boot camp for the holidays.
"He is a sweetheart and I trust him with my life," West said of Alex.
She said she just saw the family the day before Thanksgiving at a supermarket and the couple invited her family over for New Year's Eve.
After hearing Alex had been charged in the crime West was confused.
“I don’t understand why this happened,” she said. “We were very close with the family. We’re all very confused and hurt. My first thought when I got there was I have to get to Alex. I have to protect him.”
Enrico Tyler, who worked with Tom and Kelly Crain on a job for Tyler’s Salvage and knew them for about three months, pulled up onto the scene Thursday afternoon.
Tyler said he was stopping by to say 'Hi' but was stopped by police before he got to the home.
"I got chills in my body," Tyler said. "I don't know what to say. This is horrible."
Tyler said Tom and Kelly Crain were very close and seemed very happy.
"They seemed like wonderful parents," he said. "Very understanding. Very nice people."
He said when he saw them last week the family had a bonfire and were in good spirits. Tyler even threw the football with Alex.
Dispatchers received a 911 call around 8:30 a.m. today. Officials can’t confirm who made the call, but that it was made from inside the home.
Ray Tyler, 50, of Naples, said he was a friend who had known the family for several years and was helping with work around their house. He was going to pick up some equipment he left at the house when he learned of what happened.
"It's like a daydream right now," Tyler said. "You guys got to be talking about someone else."
Concerning the suspected killer, Tyler said: "He seemed like one of those little teenage kids that you want to keep an eye on."
He said the boy's father said of his son: "He's got little problems, but all kids have problems."
The family lived on a dead-end street of modest homes bordered by a canal on one side. Police tape still hung outside the house later in the day and crime scene vans were outside. Records show the home where the shooting occurred was purchased in 2002.
Collier County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division Capt. Chris Roberts couldn't answer many questions about the deaths Thursday afternoon as the investigation continued.
"There is absolutely no concern for the neighbors in that area," Roberts said in a press conference. "We have no reason to believe that there was anyone else involved in this."
"It's a very sad day, a very sad occurrence," Roberts said.
Roberts would not describe the weapon found, but said that the victims had been shot.
When asked what may have motivated the crime, Roberts said the investigation will be aimed at finding an answer to that question.
"Hopefully, that will lead to us determining what was in the mind of this young man this morning," Roberts said.
At this point, Roberts said the investigation had probable cause to arrest on second degree murder charges.
"That may change as the investigation develops additional evidence," Roberts said.
In 1998, federal records show, the couple, who were then living on 42nd Terrace S.W., filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. They finished paying their debts in May 2000, when the case was closed. They didn't seem to have further financial difficulties until 2008, when they were sued by a Golden Gate Estates couple, who listed the same 42nd Terrace S.W. address.
At Palmetto Ridge High School on Friday morning, Principal Mary Murray will make an announcement to the student body to let students know counseling services are available, according to Collier School District Spokeswoman Leanne Zinser.
The school’s guidance counselors and psychologist will be available for counseling students or classes, teachers have been advised on how to handle the issue, and staff has been told to watch for any students who may need individual counseling and to send them to the guidance office. In addition, she said, the district’s Crisis Team will be sent there to assist counseling staff with providing students and staff with crisis services.
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