Accidental shooting leads to charge of culpable negligence

OKEECHOBEE — After his friend was shot in the face, a young man was charged with culpable negligence inflicting harm and with tampering with evidence. Ricardo Morales, 20, Northeast 11th Street, was arrested June 24 by Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Detective Tyler Ott. Bond was set at $5,500.

On Sunday, June 7 at approximately 1 a.m., Detective Ott received a call reporting there had been an alleged drive by shooting in Four Seasons. He attempted to make contact with the juvenile victim at Raulerson Hospital, but due to injuries to his face and shoulder, he was unable to speak to the detective at that time.

Detective Ott was approached by another juvenile at the hospital and was told that he was with the victim at the time of the shooting and the shooting was a drive by. He reportedly told detectives that as the two boys were walking home from a friend’s house, a car drove past and shot at them.

As the boy was being interviewed, crime scene technicians discovered a trail of blood from where the victim was found leading to a residence on Northeast 10th Lane. They followed the blood trail to a shed in the backyard of a home on Northeast 11th Street. The juvenile reportedly continued to claim the shooting was the result of a drive by, and he did not understand why there was blood anywhere else.

He was taken to the home where the blood trail ended, and the owner of the home gave permission to look inside the shed. Inside the shed, there was reportedly a strong smell of bleach and it appeared someone had been attempting to clean up.

The owner’s son, Ricardo Morales along with several others were interviewed and Morales reportedly told the detectives he accidentally shot the teen with a pistol.

When the victim was interviewed, he reportedly told them he was the one who told 911 operators it was a drive by shooting. He said he thought of the plan because he did not want his friends to get in trouble.

The youth lost the use of one eye, his clavicle was broken and his jaw was shattered

Ricardo Morales

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