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Father now facing gun charge after son, 11, accused of killing friend

Father's girlfriend also charged; victim's mother says it's not enough

LAKE CITY, Fla. – Two adults are now facing weapons charges in connection with the December shooting death of a 14-year-old Columbia County boy, but the teen's mother said the charges aren't enough.

Jadon Vaughn was shot and killed Dec. 26 while visiting friends, deputies said. Carter Palm, 11, was arrested last month and charged with shooting Jadon.

At the time, deputies said the adults were out for the evening and Carter, Jadon and Carter's 13-year-old brother were home alone.

Carter's father, Jordan Palm, and his father's girlfriend, Sierra Watts, who also lives in the home, are now charged with failure to safely store a firearm. They were given a notice to appear in court Feb. 12 on the misdemeanor charges.

In Florida, it's illegal to leave an unsecured firearm within reach of a child. Two handguns -- a Ruger P89 and a Ruger EC9S -- were recovered from the father's room, deputies said. 

Jadon's mother, Brandi Sherrod, said the charges against Palm and Watts aren't enough, in her opinion, and she had a message for parents.

"I just want parents to practice gun safety. My baby boy was really loved, and I loved him more than anything in this world, and I want more," Sherrod said. "I can't express this enough: Please practice gun safety with your children and justice will be served for my baby one way or the other."

Sherrod said Jadon’s four siblings miss his lovable personality and struggle to get through most days.

“My life has changed. I'll never be the same person as I was before,” Sherrod said, calling Jadon the light of her life. “It’s hard to even go in and out of my own home because I raised him there, and he’s not there.”

Deputies said that while Jadon was visiting at Carter's home, the two began to play wrestle to see if the family dog would respond to Carter being attacked. After that, Carter got the Ruger EC9S from his father's room, took out the magazine and pointed it at Jadon, deputies said.

The gun went off, killing the teen, deputies said.

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Deputies said Carter called his father and said Jadon had tried to attack him with a knife. Investigators said Carter and his brother admitted that they put a kitchen knife near Jadon after the shooting, thinking they would be in less trouble.

News4Jax found prior arrests for Jordan Palm, including a 2010 arrest for DUI and two earlier arrests for improper exhibition of a firearm.

We have requested comment from the State Attorney's Office, which issued the charges in Jadon's death, but we have not heard back.

A GoFundMe account was created by Jadon's uncle to help Jadon's family with the unexpected funeral costs.