A Florida teen armed with a handgun shot and killed his father, and in turn prevented his mother from being strangled on Nov. 24.
Although the evening ended in tragedy, it seemed to have started pleasant enough as a small group of family and friends gathered around a bonfire outside the family’s home near Tampa. But the tone changed sometime around 10 p.m. when the mother Jill Thorpe, 35, went inside their mobile home and her husband Christopher Thorpe, 36, followed suit, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
The couple began arguing inside the house and the fight quickly escalated into blows as Christopher began beating Jill. The assault started in the living room but eventually moved to the master bedroom.
At some point during the altercation, their son, 17-year-old Channing Thorpe, entered the home, grabbed a handgun and rushed into the bedroom where he found his father choking his mother. To protect her, the teen took aim and shot at him several times.
The three others at the bonfire — Channing’s maternal grandma, who lives with the family, his girlfriend and another friend — apparently did not witness the shooting, the Sheriff’s Office told the Tampa Bay Times.
At 10:15, immediately following the shooting, Channing called the police and told them what had happened. When they arrived they found his father dead in the bedroom and his mother shot once in her right thigh. She was transported to a local hospital and released shortly after.
While Channing was picked up by deputies, he was not charged with a crime. He was later released into his mother’s custody.
You might be wondering how did Channing, being 17, obtain the handgun? Well, the Tampa Bay Times reported that the Thorpes were avid hunters and that they owned lots of guns. They also did a lot of shooting in their backyard (judging from the video and pictures they live in sort of a remote place). In addition, The Tampa Bay Tribune reported that both parents had concealed weapons permits, so they probably had handguns as well.
While it seems to be a cut-and-dry defense scenario, family, friends and authorities said there were little to no warning signs of abuse.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that the family had no documented history of domestic violence, nor did anyone in the family have a criminal record.
Neighbor Bill Dunlap told The Tampa Bay Tribune that, although he didn’t like Christopher Thorpe because “he treated women as second-class citizens,” he never heard or saw any domestic violence in the Thorpe home.
Jill’s coworkers at a local sandwich shop told Bay News 9 that she was always smiling and never indicated there was any trouble in her personal life.
“She really has been an awesome, awesome person to work with. A great manager. The best we’ve ever had here … she’s an awesome lady,” Mike Wilson, whose parents own the sandwich shop, said.
Wilson also praised Channing, who worked part-time at the restaurant.
“[Channing has] just been a really good guy. He seems to be an honest person. In every which way they seem just like a nice, nice family,” Wilson said and added, “I don’t know much about their father. I never really had interaction with him.”
Although to some details about the family may now seem to scream abuse, in they’re still very subtle. All the follow up reports describe the community as “shocked” and “surprised” that this happened, but however difficult it may be to accept, it’s an outcome that’s difficult to question.
What are your thoughts?
Shout out to Guns Saves Lives for picking up this story.