A teenage boy died while trying to protect his home and 5-year-old sister from a burglar, Florida authorities said.
Khyler Edman, 15, was at home in Port Charlotte with his sibling last Thursday, Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell said.
The discovery of Khyler’s body came after authorities were called to the neighborhood about a suspicious person walking in the neighborhood. That man fled; soon after, a 911 call came from a residence complaining of a burglar. The suspect, who had wounds on his hand, was taken into custody after a brief pursuit.
Deputies found Khyler’s body while searching to see whether other homes had been entered. That was the case with the home where they found the teen’s body.
“We believe the teenager was trying to protect the home and protect (his) younger sibling,” Prummell said at a news conference.
Khyler’s classmates plan memorials
Investigators believe Khyler died after the suspect entered the home, resulting in “a violent encounter,” said Prummell. Sheriff’s spokesman Skip Conroy told CNN there was a “physical struggle,” but said that details could not be released. The younger sister was unharmed.
Khyler was in 10th grade at Charlotte High School, where he was in the JROTC and took some honors classes, said Mike Riley, the school and community liaison for Charlotte County Public Schools.
“He was the kind of kid you would want to be your son,” Riley told CNN. “He was polite to everyone. He laid his life down to save his baby sister and showed his community how much of a hero he was.”
There are plans to memorialize Khyler this week through student-driven activities, Riley said, adding the teenager’s death is a “horrific thing” for the community on southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Suspect being held for other charges
The suspect is known to law enforcement, Prummell said. He has a history of drug use and was on probation when arrested.
He made his first court appearance Tuesday on burglary and theft charges, and was given bond, but is being held without bond for violating his parole, according to records from the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.
He has not yet been charged in connection with Khyler’s death, Conroy, the sheriff’s spokesman, said.
Prummell said his office was working with the state attorney’s office to bring charges in the case. “We are working very closely with the state attorney’s office to make sure we provide the best case we can so this individual does not see the light of day again,” said Prummell.
A lawyer had not been assigned to the suspect, according to the state attorney’s office.
CNN’s Danielle Hackett and Konstantin Toropin contributed to this report.