Commissioner Shot To Death, Son Arrested
Updated On: Apr 14 2009 08:35:17 AM EDT
South Miami Commissioner Jay Beckman was found dead inside his home on Sunday, the victim of an apparent gunshot wound.
According to investigators, someone inside the home, located in the 6500 block of Southwest 65th Avenue, called 911 to report that shots had been fired.
Beckman?s 17-year old son, Jason, was detained and questioned for hours after the shooting. He was arrested and charged with manslaughter with a firearm.
According to police, Jason Beckman asked his father to show him how to use a shotgun the commissioner owned. He then allegedly took the gun from his father?s closet, loaded it and walked into the bathroom, where his father was showering, to show him how he had put the gun together.
That?s when the gun went off, police said. The bullet struck the commissioner in the neck. Jay Beckman died at the scene.
"It is a horrible tragedy, a great loss for his family and for the commission and for the community," said fellow South Miami Commissioner Valerie Newman. ?It?s just so unexpected and so out of the norm.?
Jay Beckman, who lived in the home with his son, had been a commissioner since February 2006. The boy's mother died of cancer when he was 6, friends said.
On Monday, a court-appointed attorney appeared in court on behalf of Jason Beckman. The judge ordered the teen to stay at the Juvenile Detention Center until May 4, when he is expected to make his first court appearance.
Classmates of Jason Beckman, a senior at South Miami High School, were shocked when they heard the news.
"I feel bad for Jason," said student Alec Lopez. "(He) was a nice kid, and I don't think he was ever capable of doing something like this. I feel sorry for Jason."
Friends described Jason Beckman as funny and smart. They said they believe the shooting was an accident.
South Miami Mayor Horace Feliu also could not believe what happened. He worked with the commissioner for years.
"I'm hoping the son has professional help, some therapy, because this is a heavy cross to bear for the rest of his life," Feliu said.
Feliu told Local 10 News that he is planning to meet with the city attorney to determine when a special election will be held to replace Jay Beckman.
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