A 15-year-old boy stole a handgun and money from a relative’s Palm Bay, Florida home Sunday before he and his 16-year-old girlfriend headed north on Interstate 95 to the boy’s home state, according to deputies.
The Orlando Sentinel states that Zane Terryn and his 16-year-old girlfriend wanted to die together in Ohio, authorities claimed.
A state trooper’s inquiry about the teenagers’ broken headlight at a Pilot Travel Center in Cocoa about 9:45 p.m. halted their plan when Terryn started shooting at the trooper.
Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Channing Taylor was shot in the shoulder and he then fired back at Terryn, which killed him.
Terryn’s girlfriend tried to escape in her vehicle but soon struck a boat that was being pulled by a pickup on State Road 520.
She was charged with attempted murder of a law-enforcement officer and second-degree murder.
Are the charges appropriate?
The attempted-murder charge is from the trooper’s injury, authorities said. She did not pull the trigger, but authorities say she played a “key role” in the shooting.
“[S]he provided access to the firearm. It was in her truck [that] they traveled in,” said Florida Highway Patrol Major Tod Goodyear, “and she fled the scene after the event.”
The murder charge is from her boyfriend’s death. She did not shoot her boyfriend. However, “(s)ince a person died while she and the deceased suspect were in the commission of a felony crime, she was charged with felony murder,” Goodyear said.
She is being held without bond.
So, it seems that an unarmed 16-year-old girl is being charged for the murder of her boyfriend and the attempted murder of a police officer.
Officer Taylor is recovering from the shoulder wound, which was treated at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne. He has since been released from the hospital. He is on paid administrative leave, said Major Goodyear.
“Lieutenant Taylor is currently on paid administrative leave and is recuperating from his injuries, which is the normal practice in cases of this nature,” Goodyear wrote in a statement Monday.
Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) claims that the teens were traveling to Ohio – Terryn’s home state – to commit suicide.
The teens had stopped at the gas station to get food. Officer Taylor noticed the broken headlight and walked over to the teens to talk about the “safety equipment problem,” the release said.
While Taylor was talking to the girlfriend, who was in the driver’s seat, “Terryn, who was the passenger in the vehicle, produced a firearm and began shooting at the trooper,” Goodyear said.
The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is looking into the use of force with a parallel but independent investigation.
Taylor began his career as a trooper in 1994. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2007 and is supervisor of traffic homicide for the Brevard district.
It’s unclear whom Terryn lived with in Palm Bay.
The girlfriend is also from the same city in Brevard County.
According to The Orlando Sentinel, anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Crimeline at 800-423-8477 as the investigations continue.