Florida authorities described a gruesome scene at a home where a 12-year-old boy fatally shot his younger brother and wounded an older brother before turning the gun on himself early Wednesday evening.
The murder-suicide involving the children was so "brutal," Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said Thursday, that the responding deputies themselves are emotionally scarred.
"It was a horrific scene out there," the sheriff said at a news conference. The wounded 16-year-old — identified as Trevor Pimental — was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Nocco said.
"You have a 16-year-old who just saw something absolutely horrific, a living nightmare," Nocco said. He added: "He's grieving right now."
A preliminary investigation indicated the shootings followed "an argument over food" at around 6:19 p.m. ET at the family's mobile home in Hudson, north of Tampa.
Trevor — along with brothers Kevin, 12, and Brady, 6 — were the only ones home at the time, Nocco said. Their mother, Helen Campochiaro, was at work, and an 18-year-old brother was also out.
The boys "were eating and an argument over food occurred," Nocco said.
Kevin then grabbed a handgun and fatally shot Brady and wounded Trevor before committing suicide, authorities said. Trevor was able to call police after the shooting.
Nocco did not say where the weapon was kept in the home or who owned it, and police are still investigating why the gun was apparently left unsecured.
Investigators have been trying to get more answers from the family, but they have been "breaking down," police said.