Teens held in death of West Nassau student face new upgraded charges

16-year-old football player shot, killed in February

16-year-old football player shot, killed in February.

CALLAHAN, Fla. – Two teenagers arrested shortly after a 16-year-old West Nassau High School student was shot and killed earlier this year are facing new, adult charges.

The Sheriff’s Office said Trent Fort was shot in the chest after getting into a confrontation during a drug deal after school on Feb. 24.

Gaven Smith, 17, now charged with third-degree murder. Ashton Riggs, 16, is charged with accessory to murder. They are both from Callahan and were charged as adults.

They were initially charged on unrelated charges of felony battery on a person over 65. Smith also was charged with violation of probation and possession of a firearm of a delinquent minor.

“This was a tragic event. It was something that should have never happened,” said Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper.

Pictures of Smith and Riggs that were posted to social media will be used as evidence in the civil case, according to the Fort family’s attorney, John Phillips.

Sheriff Leeper saying this tragedy should've never happened.

Undersheriff Roy Henderson said earlier this year that Smith is believed to have pulled the trigger. He was arrested shortly after Fort’s murder at a McDonald’s in Callahan and his brother was tracked to a wooded area in the Spring Lakes Estates neighborhood. They later found the 9mm handgun involved in the shooting in the woods, he said.

Undersheriff Roy Henderson said that Fort and shooter went to school together. Fort’s parents said they’ve never met the teens, but they learned who they were on the day of the shooting.

“Our emotions are still all over the place,” said Fort’s father, Thareus. “Regardless if they get charged or convicted, it still doesn’t bring closure to you. We’re still without our son.”

Smith’s bother was also charged at the time with felony battery and no additional charges have been filed again him, although the Sheriff’s Office said more changes could be coming.

“I’m pretty positive that there will be more arrests, and I’m just waiting on it,” said Paige Hall, Fort’s mother. “Somebody needs to be held accountable because he didn’t deserve to be killed.”

Trent Fort (Special to WJXT)

RELATED | Mom, pastor call teen shot & killed an amazing young man


About the Authors:

Reports weekdays and anchors The Morning Show on Saturdays and Sundays

Created WJXT.com in 1995 and managed The Local Station's website through 2021.