Caroline shooting victim, alleged assailant both 15 years old

The Caroline High School student fatally shot at the Ladysmith YMCA on Saturday night and the 15-year-old accused of killing him “did not like each other,” Caroline County Sheriff Tony Lippa said in a news release Sunday.

The suspect, who is not being named because of his age, has been charged with homicide and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, the release said. It did not say if the suspect, who is being held at a juvenile detention facility, is also a Caroline High student.

The name of the victim, who also was 15, has not been released either.

The shooting happened outside the Caroline Family YMCA off Durrette Road at about 6 p.m.—an hour before the facility’s scheduled 7 p.m. closing time, Lippa said.

The victim was taken to Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg. The Sheriff’s Office was notified of his death about 7:20 p.m., Lippa said.

“As a father, community member and pastor my heart is heavy with grief for everyone directly impacted by this,” the Rev. Duane Fields, of Oxford Mt. Zion Church in Ruther Glen, said in a statement. He said he knows both families involved in the shooting.

He said clergy will be made available to help students and school staff cope with the incident. A prayer vigil will be held Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Caroline High School, he said.

On Sunday afternoon, all appeared normal at the YMCA and the surrounding the Ladysmith Village neighborhood.

Kids played and rode bikes. People walked their dogs. And members enjoyed the YMCA where less than 24 hours earlier a teenager was shot nearby.

The teen is Caroline County’s first homicide victim since 2007, but he’s the third person to be killed in the past week in the Fredericksburg region.

A Bowling Green man was stabbed to death early Friday in Fredericksburg. A city resident has been charged with first-degree murder in that case.

And a Spotsylvania County woman who told police she accidentally shot her husband on Monday evening has been charged with second-degree murder.

Lippa said extra deputies will be at the high school on Monday, and school counselors and local clergy will also be available for students in need of their services, he said.

“Please know,” the sheriff said in the release, “that our thoughts and prayers go out to the families involved in this terrible tragedy.”