Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dad kills 10-year-old son in murder-suicide (Panama City, Florida)

Dad is identified as PHILLIP STEVENS. Although there is mention of a teenager in the home and other unnamed "family members," there is no mention of the mother.

Father Kills 10-Year-Old Son, Then Himself in Suspected Murder-Suicide on Panama City Beach

Posted: Jun 12, 2013 4:08 AM EDT Updated: Jun 12, 2013 6:35 PM EDT

By Ken McVay
By Caitlin Lawrence

A Panama City Beach community is trying to understand what happened on their quiet street late Tuesday night. The Bay County Sheriff's Office believes a father shot his young son then turned the gun on himself.

Deputies responded to 2508 Shady Oak Court after they received a call about a shooting incident. They said they found Phillip Stevens dead inside the home and his 10-year old son Joshua suffering from gunshot wounds. Joshua was transported to a hospital in critical condition but later died from those wounds.

Investigators said there were other family members in the home at the time of the shooting. They've been able to help piece together some of what happened.

The question on so many minds is "why?" Investigators said it's an answer they simply don't have.

"I'm not real sure that we have the full answer to that right now. Obviously, Mr. Stephens would be the only one that could fully answer that question. It's a very tragic situation. It's my understanding that he has threatened suicide in the past, but we really do not have a clear understanding of what may have precipitated this," said Major Tommy Ford with the Sheriff's Office.

Patrick Upchurch lives next door to the family on Shady Oak Court. Although he wasn't home when the shooting occurred, he said he's trying to cope with what happened and support the family.

"They've always been real nice to me. I've never seen no problems or anything. It's really devastating hearing about it when I got home last night, what had happened. I can't believe it really happened," said Upchurch.

Bay County Sheriff's investigators are still looking into the shooting incident. They do not suspect the family members in the home played a role.


UPDATE: The man and his son who were the victims of a murder suicide on Panama City Beach have been identified.

The Bay County Sheriff's Office responded to a call in reference to a shooting at 2508 Shady Oak Court at about 11:00 p.m. last evening, June 11, 2013.

Deputies arrived to find Phillip Stephens dead at the scene by a gunshot and his 10 year old son Joshua Stephens also shot, but still alive. EMS also responded and Joshua Stephens was taken to a local hospital where he later passed.

BCSO Criminal Investigations and Crime Scene Unit responded to the home and began an investigation into the incident and a forensic examination of the scene.

Investigators now believe Phillip Stephens shot his son and then turned the gun on himself. A teenage family member was also in the home at the time of the shooting but did not witness the incident. However, a statement taken by investigators from this family member is consistent with evidence recovered at the scene. Statements from other family members reveal Phillip Stephens had a history of threatening suicide.


A father and his 10-year-old son are dead after a suspected murder-suicide, according to Bay County Sheriff's Office deputies.

Authorities responded to a call at 2508 Shady Oak Court on Panama City Beach at 11 p.m. on Tuesday. They say a father shot his 10-year-old son and then turned the gun on himself.

The father was pronounced dead on the scene. The child was taken to Bay Medical Center with head trauma, where he later died, officials said.

They also say other family members were in the home at the time of the shooting.

The investigation is ongoing and News 13 will provide more details as the story develops.