TAMPA, Fla. — Nearly two years after the December 2019 death of their son, the parents of Bradley Hulett have reached a resolution with the teenager charged with manslaughter for his fatal shooting.
Hulett, 15, was shot and killed while spending time with friends in the home of a Tampa police officer.
Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said Bradley's parents, Meagan and Brad Hulett, wanted two things from the process. To know exactly what happened to their son and for the now 17-year-old charged with his death to help them raise awareness with other kids about gun safety.
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"Bradley's parents told us they were less concerned about sending him to prison and more concerned about repairing the bond they once had with their son's friend," Warren said.
Warren described the resolution, which involves an extensive pretrial intervention program, as "appropriate and acceptable."
He said at the end of the first meeting to reach the resolution, the Huletts and the teenager accused of the shooting hugged and agreed to work together on gun safety.
"I can't compliment Mr. and Mrs. Hulett enough for their trust and patience as this case went forward," Warren added.
What happened inside the Tampa police officer's home?
On Dec. 13, four teen boys, whose ages ranged from 15 to 16, went to a home located on Bridgewalk Drive in Lithia, which is owned by one of the boy's fathers, who is a Tampa police officer.
While inside, the officer's son used a paperclip to unlock his father's master bedroom door because another boy was using the other bathroom in the house.
After using the bathroom, the boy left his father's bedroom but did not re-lock the door.
Shortly after, the boy and two of his friends went back into the father's bedroom. The press release stated it was to look for a plunger they needed for a clog in the other bathroom.
Warren said while in the master bedroom, the boys noticed a gun in a safety holster sitting on a small table. The gun, according to Warren, did not have a magazine in it but did have a single round in the chamber.
After noticing the gun, the officer's son "mistakenly believed the gun to be unloaded and engaged the safety release to remove it from the holster." He and his two friends then took it back into his bedroom, where Hulett was sitting at a desk playing video games.
While in the bedroom, one of the boys took the gun from the officer's son, "mistakenly believing the gun to be unloaded" and pulled the trigger, which fired a single round that struck Hulett in the back of the head.
Immediately, the three boys called 911 and attempted to provide medical assistance to Hulett.
Arrest affidavit released:
On Tuesday, March 3, 2020, the arrest affidavit describing more details about the deadly shooting was released.
According to the affidavit, after the gun was taken out of the safety holster, one of the boys said, "Let's go scare Bradley."
After going back into the officer's son's bedroom, Bradley saw the gun and said, "Oh, that's real."
One of the boys told deputies as he entered the doorway of the bedroom, he saw the 15-year-old charged with manslaughter "holding the handgun and waving it around his right hand." He then heard him say, "What if it's loaded?" right before he heard a gunshot.
According to the affidavit, when deputies arrived at the Tampa police officer's home, the 15-year-old was holding a towel to Bradley's head and "made a spontaneous statement advising he pulled the trigger."
According to Warren, the teenager charged with the shooting will undergo a PTI program while under the supervision of the Department of Corrections. Warren said the program includes mental health treatment; drug and alcohol evaluation; 150 hours of community service; maintaining full-time school/employment, not possessing a weapon, drugs or alcohol and remaining arrest-free.
"PTI is commonly used across the state for defendants with minimal or zero criminal history," Warren said.
The teenager will undergo supervision for three years but will be eligible for early termination after 18 months, which is how long Warren said supervision typically lasts with a PTI program. If the suspect completes all requirements, the charges will be dismissed.
Warren said the suspect agreed to do community service side-by-side with the Hulett family and will volunteer with the foundation they created in Bradley's honor to educate kids about gun safety.
Meagan Hulett spoke at Tuesday's press conference and thanked all the friends, family, officials and members of the media who have helped them over the last almost two years. She also thanked the third boy present at the time of the shooting who came forward and provided information.
"We left the biggest thank you for last. The third boy that was present the night of Bradley's death at the Perez's house is nothing short of a hero in our eyes," Meagan said. "With the support of his family, which plays an enormous role in the shortcomings of the others, he did the right thing from day one."
"Hopefully he can live a wonderful life with a special angel by his side knowing that he was there for Bradley when Bradley needed him most," Meagan added. "It is never wrong to do the right thing."
Meagan said the family feels the resolution is the "best possible outcome" given the circumstances of the case. She added that all the family ever wanted was "for all who were involved to take responsibility for their role in the death of our son."
Meagan and Warren spoke on Tuesday about the weapon used, a Sig Sauer P320, and a defect it has that causes it to fire without the trigger being pulled.
The weapon was the subject of a recall in 2017 and is used by the Tampa Police Department. The weapons underwent an upgrade to fix the issue but in July a Tampa Police Officer filed a lawsuit against the manufactures alleging his weapon fired by itself and seriously injured him.
According to Warren, the weapon was a personal firearm, not TPD issued.