Cops: Orange City teen stole gun from coach, accidentally shot self

Published On: Nov 27 2012 11:32:55 AM EST
Updated On: Nov 27 2012 05:44:27 PM EST

ORANGE CITY, Fla. -

Orange City police say the teen who accidentally shot and killed himself in a library earlier this month stole the gun from a school coach's car.

Local 6 has confirmed Yardeh Gautier, 16, went into Pine Ridge High School coach Reginald Odom's unlocked car parked outside of the coach's home with a friend and took the gun the night before the shooting. The coach's wife drove the Dodge Charger, and the gun wasn't registered to Odom or his wife, according to police.

"I'm crushed because this young man is dead and it's very unfortunate," said Odom's wife, Shantita, who says she knew Gautier from being a substitute teacher at his school last year and from her husband's coaching.

Shantita Odom said she saw the news report Gautier's death, but didn't realize until later it was with her gun. Shantita said the gun was in her mother-in-law's safe and the Odoms have had it since she passed away, but police say they don't know how the gun, which was previously reported as stolen, ended up in the safe. Shantita said they didn't report it as stolen because they had never registered it.

"I know what we're going through, a simple mistake, a human mistake," she said. "My door was unlocked. Everyone makes a mistake. I pray for him, I pray for his family and I can only imagine what his family is going through right now."

Gautier, a freshman at University High School in Orange City, was with two other students, 16- and 19-year-old boys, when the gun went off in the Dickinson Memorial Library on Albertus Way on Nov. 15. Police said Gautier and Ajai Blakely went through the Grand Ville apartments looking for cars to burglarize on Nov. 14 and found Odom's car. Gautier stole the gun while Blakely acted as the lookout, according to police.

"I don't think these kids are bad. I don't think these kids are a threat," Shantita Odom said. " I just think it was a simple mistake that led to a very bad ending."

Police said Gautier shot himself in the eye and was rushed to Halifax Health Trauma Center, where he later died.

Watch Local 6 for more on this story.

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