GULFPORT, Fla. — A former Florida security guard fatally shot his twin brother in the face as the pair sat in a vehicle with a friend Sunday night in Gulfport, talking and joking.
Thomas Arnet Parkinson-Freeman, 23, of St. Petersburg, is charged with manslaughter in the death of Mathias Alexander Parkinson-Freeman, of Gulfport. According to Pinellas County Jail records, he was booked into the jail early the next morning.
A criminal complaint indicates that the Parkinson-Freeman brothers were hanging out in a Nissan Pathfinder with a friend just after 7 p.m. Sunday night when the shooting took place. The friend was in the driver’s seat and Matthias Parkinson-Freeman was in the front passenger seat.
Thomas Parkinson-Freeman sat in the middle rear passenger seat, the affidavit states. Police recovered a marijuana pipe from the vehicle but it was not immediately clear if the men were under the influence of the drug when the tragedy unfolded.
According to a statement from Gulfport police officials, there was no argument prior to the shooting.
“The brothers, along with a mutual friend, sat in the vehicle as they talked and joked,” the statement said. “There was no indication of any sort of conflict.”
At some point, Matthias Parkinson-Freeman pulled a concealed handgun from his waistband and pointed it at his brother.
“(Thomas Parkinson-Freeman) reacted by drawing his own firearm, which was in a holster on his personally-owned security guard gun belt,” Gulfport police Detective Jennifer Crowson wrote in the affidavit. “(He) took the safety off and discharged the firearm, striking the left side of the victim’s face, which fatally wounded the victim.”
According to authorities, Thomas Parkinson-Freeman’s gun belt was a remnant from his time as a guard for Dunbar Armored.
“He had apparently been wearing the belt, with a personally-owned firearm, to show it off to the others,” the police statement said.
According to the criminal complaint, the friend with the brothers told police the twins were joking around with one another just before the shooting. The man said that, as Matthias Parkinson-Freeman pulled his handgun, he turned his head to watch a passing vehicle.
When the witness heard the gunshot fired by Thomas Parkinson-Freeman, he turned back and saw Matthias Parkinson-Freeman mortally wounded, Crowson wrote.
During questioning, Thomas Parkinson-Freeman admitted that he’d shot his brother but said he did not mean to harm him. He said he could not remember pulling the trigger.
“The defendant immediately rendered first aid to the victim once he realized what he did,” the affidavit states.
Read the criminal complaint below.
The police statement and court records indicate that Thomas Parkinson-Freeman apparently did not mean to kill his brother.
“Detectives concluded that Thomas was not acting in self-defense when he drew and fired his gun because he told detectives that he was not in fear and that he did not believe Matthias had any intention of shooting him,” the statement said. “Thomas said that he reacted automatically based on training and that he does not know why he did so.”
Thomas Parkinson-Freeman was released from jail Monday on a $30,000 surety bond.
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