LAKE WALES, Fla. - A 19-year-old has been arrested and charged after allegedly shooting and killing his mother in their Polk County home.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Seth Settle shot and killed his mother Thursday after she told him to stop smoking inside his room in their Lake Wales home.
During a press conference Friday, Judd said – by all accounts – the 52-year-old victim was "the most wonderful mom in the world" and the family was regarded as nice and hard-working.
Judd said the victim's husband, Settle's father, left for work like normal Thursday morning. Just after 9:30 a.m., he received a call that his wife was taken to the hospital. By the time he picked up his daughter from school and got home, he was notified that his wife had died.
Meanwhile, investigators did not immediately suspect foul play because there was no blood found in the home, or any obvious injuries that anyone had noticed on the victim. They said Settle's 24-year-old brother called 911 after finding his mother collapsed in their house.
Judd said after the mother had already been pronounced dead at the hospital, a nurse noticed what appeared to be puncture wounds on the victim's body. It turned out, she had been shot through the heart. She did not bleed out because her heart immediately stopped when the bullet went through, according to the sheriff.
Seth Settle (Polk County Sheriff's Office)
After finding Settle, who fled from the home after the shooting, investigators say he confessed to shooting his mom through the door of his bedroom. He said she told him to stop smoking cigars in his room and then closed the door.
Judd said Settle claimed he was depressed and had been holding a gun to his head before his mother came in, and that the gun accidentally discharged when he went to put it down.
The sheriff said his deputies believe Settle shot his mother through the door on purpose out of anger.
"The only people that are more shocked and stunned by this in law enforcement are the immediate family. No one could see this coming," Judd said.
"He fled past her – didn't help, didn't call 911," the sheriff added. "I can't begin to tell you the horror of this event."
Settle is charged with second-degree murder, tampering with evidence, five counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer, and discharging a firearm on a residential property.
Judd said it appears the 19-year-old illegally purchased the firearm from an individual.