Accidental Shooting Claims Life of 14-Year-Old Teen in Ruskin: Family Mourns Tragic Loss

TAMPA, Florida – The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is considering potential criminal charges following the tragic death of 14-year-old Mason Butler in Ruskin last weekend. Investigators are exploring the possibility that the fatal shooting may have been accidental.

According to the family, Mason was a vibrant teenager attending Shields Middle School, navigating his way through adolescence. Despite his reluctance towards formal education, they described him as exceptionally bright and someone who taught them the importance of empathy and understanding others.

On the fateful Saturday afternoon around 4:30, deputies responded to a home on Seminole Sky Drive in Ruskin where they discovered Mason with gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

The family believes that a friend of Mason, who had been cautioned to keep a distance from, may have unintentionally fired the fatal shot. They are urging gun owners to securely store their firearms away from the reach of children to prevent similar tragedies.

“He always made it a point to say good night and that he loved (his mom) and hugged her and he was just absolutely obsessed with his mom,” expressed Mason’s aunt Felicia Garcia. The devastating loss has left the family grappling with the sudden and irreversible impact of the incident.

HCSO continues to investigate the circumstances surrounding the shooting, with the 15-year-old shooter cooperating with detectives. Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, the heartbreaking loss of Mason serves as a poignant reminder of the fragility of life.

As the community mourns the loss of a promising young life, the incident underscores the critical importance of responsible gun ownership and ensuring the safety of firearms, especially in households with children.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is urging anyone with information related to the incident to come forward as they work to determine the appropriate course of action. Despite the cooperation of the shooter, the tragedy serves as a sobering reminder of the irreversible consequences of irresponsible firearm handling.

In the wake of this devastating loss, the community has come together to support Mason’s family and honor his memory, emphasizing the need for vigilance and caution when it comes to firearm safety. The investigation into the shooting continues as authorities seek to bring closure and justice to the grieving family.