Man charged with manslaughter after beach shooting
A man has been charged with shooting and killing his brother and cousin on a Florida beach resort after the pair were playing hide-and-seek.
The Palm Beach Post reports the brothers, 25-year-old Jonathan Stansford and 19-year “T.J.”
James, were playing in the sand in the pool area at Coral Reef resort in Lighthouse Point when they were approached by two men, who then shot both of them in the head and body.
The men, aged 29 and 30, are facing charges of second-degree murder, attempted murder, armed criminal action and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
They are being held at the Palm Beach County Jail.
Jonathan Stansfords family members, who spoke to the Post from the resort, described the brothers as “very good friends” and said they were “very, very, very excited” to have been found dead.
“This is the first time I’ve seen anything like this,” said Robert Stansfather, Jonathan’s brother.
“I know he’s out there, he’s not hurt, and he’s probably dead already.
He’s just going to be forever remembered for this.”
A friend of the family said Jonathan was playing hide and seek with his friend and family on a Friday afternoon.
“This happened on a beach, he was playing a little hide- and-seek and they got into a scuffle,” said Christopher Stansfield.
“I think they just wanted to make a little money and get away from the whole thing,” he added.
Jonathan was also playing tag on the sand and had just got off the water when the shooting occurred.
His brother said Jonathan got into the pool after the shooting, and that he and his brother went to check on him and were not seen for several minutes.
“They just went in there and just kept playing,” Christopher said.
“When they found out I was okay, they said, ‘You’re okay, go back out.’
They were trying to make sure they weren’t injured.
I don’t know what they were doing.”
Jonathan Stanesford, the brother, said he and T.J. James had been playing hide & seek since last summer and were enjoying the sun and the fresh water at the resort.
“It was so cool,” he said.
“It was all sunshine and all the cool water.
It was just a dream.”
The brothers were both from the Tampa Bay area and were both attending school in Lava Springs.
Jonathan’s sister, Sarah Stansfort, said she believes the shooting was a case of mistaken identity.
“We are so saddened that we have to think about that,” she said.
A Facebook post by Jonathan’s mother, Sarah J. Stansforth, was shared more than 40,000 times, and people have since started donating money to the StansFords family.