only on 6

Accidental Shooting of South Florida Teen Highlights Issue of Gun Violence With Minors

NBC Universal, Inc.

The tragedy of teen gun violence is coming to the forefront. A South Florida mother is hoping there will be justice after her 15-year-old daughter was killed in an accidental shooting in 2020.

Arya Gray died when a 17-year-old accidentally shot her in the head. On Thursday morning, a judge is expected to sentence now 19-year-old Thalys Oliveira, who pulled the trigger. The victim’s family says what happens will send a message to kids about guns and if there’s a price to pay for playing with them.  

“Sometimes I wake up, and I can see her vision walking by. It’s just very hurtful every day and every day is just a fight to live,” Maria Gray said.

Arya’s mother and sister spoke exclusively with NBC 6 about the shooting that happened in May of 2020. 

Prosecutors charged Oliveira as an adult, with charges of manslaughter with a deadly weapon, being a minor with a firearm, and exhibiting the weapon. Court records show he’s entered a not guilty plea, but a plea hearing is set for Thursday morning.

In Florida, an average of 187 children and teens die each year from gun violence—34% of those minors were killed in shootings determined to be unintentional.

Recently obtained 911 calls reveal the terrifying moments when a 15-year-old was accidentally shot in the head by another teen back in May 2020. NBC 6's Willard Shepard reports

“He pulled the trigger and that other person died,” said Mariano Corcelli, who is the Gray family's attorney. “There are no accidental shootings. When you pick up a gun and you point it, the gun goes off and kills someone. It’s too late to then say you were playing and that you were messing around. Everyone needs to know if that happens and you were holding the gun that the consequences will be large.”

NBC 6 was told Judge Teresa Pooler could send Oliveira to boot camp, or on the other end, Florida law allows a 30-year prison term. Maria says kids and parents are watching.

“Or he’s going to get sentenced and kids are going to be like, wow, you know, the judge didn’t play,” Maria said.

She said the gun that killed her daughter had been stolen and another teen ended up bringing it to the apartment Oliveira’s parents rented for him. The parents were not charged.

Oliveira’s attorney said out of respect for the Gray family, they would not have any comment prior to the hearing Thursday morning.

Contact Us