New Details Released In Fatal Cottage Hill Shooting Of 16-Year-Old

April 16, 2024

Arrest and investigative reports obtained Tuesday morning by detail what witnesses say happened late Friday night when a 16-year-old was fatally shot at a party at a Cottage Hill home.

Ethan Alexander O’Brien, 19, was charged with felony negligent manslaughter. He turned himself in Monday afternoon at the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and was booked into the Escambia County Jail without bond.

“The investigation determined that during a large gathering at the residence, O’Brien (pictured) was showing off his firearm at which time it accidentally discharged hitting the 16-year-old. O’Brien fled the scene before deputies arrived,” The ECSO said Saturday morning.

The incident happened about 11:30 p.m. Friday at a home in the 600 block of Wishbone Road. The victim was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Emergency dispatchers received one call from someone who told them she heard a gunshot from her neighbor’s house and someone screaming “help me”. Another caller reported that they heard one gunshot and two vehicles leaving, and people were knocking on other residents’ doors.

Another caller reported that there was a male that had a gunshot wound to his stomach and leg. Another 911 call reported that a 16-year-old male had been shot in the chest and was not breathing.

Deputies arrived on the scene and found a male on the ground with a gunshot wound to the chest. Deputies unsuccessfully performed CPR and used an AED in an attempt to revive the victim, who was pronounced deceased by Escambia County EMS.

A 17-year-old witness told deputies that O’Brien pulled his gun from his trunk, and he had it out trying to shoot it, the report states. O’Brien then held the gun up midway and shot it. The witness told deputies that she did not feel that O’Brien was trying to shoot the victim on purpose.

Another witness, a 17-year-old male, said he heard a gunshot and screaming about five minutes after arriving at the home. He said O’Brien pointed the gun. “He believes he was messing around with the gun, and he felt that he didn’t shoot it on purpose,” the report states.

Another 17-year-old witness told deputies that she had invited a few friends over to her house and she was inside when the incident occurred. She heard a gunshot and went outside to find the victim on the ground and asked who was responsible.

“Do you want us to get in trouble, and he said I gots to leave,” she indicated O’Brien said. She continues that before the incident O’Brien showed her the gun that was in his trunk, and she asked to shoot it. She said she did not fire what she described to investigators as a “big gun”.

The victim grabbed his side after being shot and said, “You just shot me bro” before falling to the ground, an additional 17-year-old witness told law enforcement. He said O’Brien had an “AR style” rifle and he was playing with before the shooting.

An additional witness said he was standing by the road in front of the residence talking to a female when he heard someone said “I’ve been shot” multiple times and walking toward the house and saw the victim on the ground.

Other witnesses said the victim stated “I’m shot. You shot me” and O’Brien replied, “I shot you?” before the victim fell to the ground. The witness described the gun as an AR pistol.

An additional witness said O’Brien appeared to be intoxicated and showed her the gun and the handgun magazine had hollow, green tips. About five minutes prior to the fatal shot, the gun was fired outside, and a male came running in the door, playfully sliding on his stomach across the floor.

No shell casings were found at the scene.

The teens at the party were from Tate High School, and O’Brien does “stupid stuff”, one teen told investigators, declining to elaborate on what he meant by “stupid stuff”>

Deputies went to multiple addresses known to be associated with O’Brien but were unable to locate him.

The report states the homeowner was out of town during the incident.

Pictured top: The scene on Wishbone Road in Cottage Hill late Friday night after a teen was shot and killed. Pictured below: Crime scene still surrounded the home Saturday morning. photo, click to enlarge.


10 Responses to “New Details Released In Fatal Cottage Hill Shooting Of 16-Year-Old”

  1. Rasheed Jackson on April 18th, 2024 7:50 pm

    @ Elmer

    It is a crime. When you are careless and cause the death of another person you will and should suffer the consequences of your actions. He never should have had the gun out. According to the report witnesses said he was pointing the gun and trying to shoot it. He also was reported to have been playing with an AR type firearm. Yes, it is a sad situation, and a young man lost his life because one person was reckless.

  2. Just Saying on April 17th, 2024 11:40 am


    I currently live in New York. Allow me to assure you that here, the max they would charge him with is negligent manslaughter. The powers that be up here have become extremely lenient on everything. There are no longer physical arrests made for most offenses. Shoplifting? No arrest. Assault? No arrest. Trespassing? No arrest. Stalking? No arrest. Domestic violence? No arrest. DUI? Sleep it off at the station and be released.

  3. Another high on April 17th, 2024 9:57 am




    And, yes, guns.

    They are all legal.

    But when they consume a person to the point of “must have” above all else, they become a master. A god. An addiction.

    I am saddened for both these young people and the families who must move from this point forward.

  4. Suspicious on April 17th, 2024 8:38 am

    This is the second time in just a few years in Escambia county where a teenager was at a gathering and got shot ( on accident). You got a bunch of teenagers together and one gets pissed and shoots another then all his friends lie for him. There needs to be a thorough investigation. The whole story seems suspicious.

  5. brianh on April 17th, 2024 6:46 am

    Elmer, so it’s all the fault of Florida? At least it’s not the gun’s fault for this unfortunate incident.

  6. Beulahwood on April 16th, 2024 11:30 pm

    nice elmer great way of putting it. its floridas fault DUH

  7. amazing on April 16th, 2024 10:39 pm

    There is no such thing as an accidental discharge.

    Pure negligence.

  8. Steve on April 16th, 2024 10:26 pm

    Mr Fudd… Had this been in any other state up north he would be in on MURDER 1… But he is 19 and handled a LOADED firearm in a way to cause the DEATH of another through CARELESS ACTION… Other words he knew better BUT DID IT ANYWAY.. Like driving drunk. His action is what caused the death. This was no hunting accident. That gun was held and the trigger pulled.

  9. elmer on April 16th, 2024 7:16 pm

    the young man is 19 years old. Old enough to own a firearm but leave it to Florida to turn a tragic accident in to a crime

  10. Gmoney on April 16th, 2024 1:16 pm

    So if confirmed a pistol. Unlawfully in possession of a pistol?. Also green tips are not hollow points.