Teenager says he shot man because he fondled his leg

Published Friday, November 2, 2001

A Lauderdale Lakes teenager has told police he shot a 38-year-old man after the man tried to molest him. Broward sheriff's detectives are investigating the youth's story.

The 14-year-old was held late Thursday at the Juvenile Detention Center in Fort Lauderdale facing a charge of aggravated battery with a weapon.

Eugene Haines, of Oakland Park, was treated and released at Broward General Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday.

Police said the 14-year-old knocked on Haines' apartment door at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. The two knew each other, though police did not say how well.

Haines "wasn't fearful when he opened the door,'' said Veda Coleman-Wright, a Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman. "They were acquaintances.''

As Haines stood in the doorway, the teen fired a .25-caliber handgun several times, striking him once in the lower left torso, police said.

The boy ran to his Lauderdale Lakes residence and told his mother, then police, that Haines fondled his leg and would not let him leave.

"I'm not sure if the sexual advances happened, then [the boy] left and came back, or if they happened in a past visit,'' Coleman-Wright said. "It's still a little bit unclear."

Attempts to reach Haines at home Thursday night were unsuccessful.

How the teenager obtained the gun also remained unclear. Police said the teen tossed the gun near a lake by Haines apartment, but later helped police find it.

"He's only telling us that he found the gun,"Coleman-Wright said.

The teen's mother escorted him back to Haines' apartment. Police had already arrived, and arrested him.

One neighbor said Haines was a quiet man who enjoyed playing reggae music.

"He keeps to himself,"neighbor Kelly Arvia said Wednesday night. "He's real sweet, a nice guy."

Herald Staff Writer Hannah Sampson contributed to this report.

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