Teen allegedly involved in deadly Tallahassee double-shooting to be tried as adult

Kylen Welch, 16, has been charged with possession of a firearm by a delinquent and tampering with physical evidence
16-year-old arrested in McDonald's shooting to be tried as an adult
Published: Jun. 29, 2023 at 2:14 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 29, 2023 at 2:44 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A Tallahassee teenager will be charged and tried as an adult in connection to a broad-daylight shooting in a McDonald’s parking lot that left two men dead, according to Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman.

Court records identify Kylen Welch, 16, as the underage male who allegedly shot and killed Trenton Tompkins, 21, after Tompkins allegedly shot and killed an unidentified 18-year-old man on June 22. Welch has not been charged in Tompkins’ death.

TPD responds to a double-shooting at a McDonald's on West Pensacola Street on Thursday, June 22.
TPD responds to a double-shooting at a McDonald's on West Pensacola Street on Thursday, June 22.(Cody Butler/WCTV)

Prosecutors considering ruling the incident as a “Stand Your Ground” case

The Tallahassee Police Department previously called Welch’s charges a “Stand Your Ground” case, but as of Wednesday afternoon, it is unclear if prosecutors will proceed with that determination.

Court documents show that Welch told investigators he reached for a firearm in his waistband after Tompkins shot the 18-year-old and began turning toward him. TPD stated Welch then shot ‘in fear for his life.’ But last Friday, State Attorney Jack Campbell contradicted police, telling WCTV that it was too early to determine if it was a ‘Stand Your Ground’ case. TPD later rolled back its statement, saying “preliminary findings indicated it could be a ‘Stand Your Ground’ case.”

What do the “delinquent” charges mean?

Welch, who Leon County court records stated was “adjudicated delinquent” in May of 2022, was charged with possession of a firearm by a delinquent and tampering with physical evidence.

In the state of Florida, a delinquent is defined as a person who has violated the law before reaching 18 years of age. Criminal cases involving minors in Florida are handled by the Department of Juvenile Justice. After the decision was made to charge Welch as an adult, Welch’s case was transferred to the felony trial division within the Leon County court system, and Welch was transferred to the Leon County Jail.

Court records show he was released on bond and is now under GPS monitoring with a 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew, according to records pertaining to his pretrial release.

Records show how an argument turned deadly

According to the probable cause affidavit, the shooting stemmed from an argument at the Palmer Munroe Teen Center off Jackson Bluff Road. Welch allegedly told investigators that Tompkins and the 18-year-old were arguing over a gun that the 18-year-old had taken from Tompkins weeks earlier.

At some point during the argument, a small group, including Tompkins, the 18-year-old, Welch, and several other men, relocated roughly a mile away to the Mcdonald’s off West Pensacola Street, court documents state.

Tompkins and the 18-year-old continued arguing inside a vehicle in the parking lot, and it eventually escalated. Tompkins shot the 18-year-old with a gun he had been holding in his lap, according to the probable cause affidavit. Welch, who was reportedly nearby, then allegedly opened fire on Tompkins “out of fear for his life” and shot multiple times, according to the court documents.

Investigators reported that both Tompkins and the 18-year-old were found with loaded 9mm semi-automatic pistols near their bodies.

Welch was later located after a “Be On The Lookout” alert was issued for his vehicle, the affidavit states. He was detained for questioning and later identified himself in surveillance video of the incident. He told police that he “disposed of the firearm he used in a nearby pond,” according to the documents. The firearm has not been located, according to police.

WCTV does not typically identify minors involved in criminal cases, but due to Welch being tried as an adult, and the nature of the case, we are sharing that information. Police have not identified the 18-year-old victim.

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