A 16-year-old DeLand teen was arrested Tuesday in connection with a shooting of his 16-year-old friend in April that police believe he tried to cover up after getting scared.
Erik Lavon Gibson Jr. was arrested Tuesday and charged with manslaughter with a firearm for the April 2nd death of Calvin Nealy Jr. Police have also said that statements made by witnesses show that Gibson told them to lie to police and say Nealy was playing with the gun when it went off and killed him.
Gibson’s father, Erik Gibson Sr. was also arrested Tuesday, accused of selling powdered cocaine earlier this year in DeLand.
The shooting of Nealy, and another teen, who was a relative of Nealy’s, brought about a demand from DeLand government officials who were tired of gang and teen violence in the community. The two shootings were just the latest in a series of shootings over the past 2 years involving teens.
According to DeLand police, at least nine juveniles and an adult were at the home at 309 E. Chelsea St., opposite Earl Brown Park, when the shooting occurred. Many of the people in the home at the time fled after the shooting, leaving Nealy to die on the sidewalk outside the front door. When police interviewed several witnesses they all gave the same story, Nealy was playing with the gun when it went off striking him in the back right side of his head.
An investigation into the shooting showed it was impossible for Nealy to shoot himself in the head. Nealy was found lying on his left side and facing the opposite direction from where the gun was found 5 feet away from his body. The autopsy also showed Nealy was shot from a distance.
When police did follow up interviews after the findings were released the witnesses told police Gibson panicked after the shooting and told all of them that when the police arrived to tell them Nealy was playing with the gun when it went off.
Another juvenile told police a month after the shooting she encountered Gibson at the Chisholm Community Center and he told her that he shot Nealy, but that the incident was an accident and that he was high at the time of the shooting and he “did stupid things” when he was high.
The investigation also showed Gibson started posting odd comments on his Facebook wall after the shooting, saying he was stressed, lost 10 pounds, was doing bad, was changed mentally and wished the bullet had hit him.
Gibson was taken to the Volusia Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Daytona Beach after his arrest.