TAMPA, Fla. – Defense Attorney Rick Escobar says the release of his client’s name is nothing more than a pressure campaign.
“Decisions can’t be made through pressure. Decisions have to be made evaluating with the laws, evaluating the facts, and apply those facts to the law,” said Escobar.
His client is Tampa Police Officers Edwin Perez, whose home was the scene of the shooting death of 15-year-old Bradley Hulett, who, along with two others, was visiting Perez’s son at the time.
Officer Perez was not home.
His identity has been kept from the public until a recent post on social media.
“I think it’s sad for that to happen,” said Escobar.
Perez and his 15-year old son are forever linked to Bradley’s death.
Bradley’s mother, Meagan Hulett still can’t understand how it happened.
“I can’t wrap my head around a loaded gun in the house with teenage boys, unsupervised,” said Hulett.
Bradley’s parents say getting to the truth of what happened has not been easy. Only one of the teenagers spoke to detectives, early on.
Officer Perez, his son and the teenage shooter stayed silent until recently when Perez’s son was subpoenaed to give a statement to investigators and offered immunity.
Escobar says his clients have nothing to hide and, in fact, the law is on their side. He points to Florida’s Safe Storage Act which says a loaded weapon must be stored in a secure location away from minors, under the age of 16.
In this case, Escobar says the gun was in a secure location.
He says Officer Perez stored the gun in his locked bedroom and always removed the magazine from the gun and bullets from the chamber.
But on the day of the shooting, “when my client was removing the clip, he may have not removed the bullet from the chamber although his procedure was to remove both of them all the time.”
But Escobar says the law clearly states if someone unlawfully enters the secured location, which is what happened in this case, Officer Perez is not criminally responsible.
“So again, under the Safe Storage Act, these circumstances do not make this police officer liable in any way, shape, or form,” said Escobar.
While the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office continues to weigh all the evidence, the Hulett’s attorney Anthony Rickman says his clients only want the truth.
He rejects the idea they are waging a pressure campaign.
“What we have in this case is a tragedy. A young boy lost his life on December 13 and a family is grieving. They’re doing everything they can do to find justice for their child,” said Rickman.
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