PRICHARD, Ala. (WALA) - A 14-year-old was arrested Friday for the murder of 19-year-old Joseph Berryhill, Jr., a LeFlore High School student.
The Prichard Police Department will not release the name of the suspect due to his age, but they did say he was friends with the victim. Officials said the 14-year-old told police the shooting was self defense.
"He confessed to the shooting, but said it was in self defense," said Robert Buchanan with the City of Prichard.
According to Buchanan, the teen shot Berryhill twice.
Police said witnesses recall him, another teenager, and the victim near the Prichard Mini Mall were all armed when the shooting took place.
They say the 14-year-old told officers he and the other boy were smoking marijuana when Berryhill walked up.
"He had a weapon and told them to, 'Put your hands up,' and that's when the other guy ran away," said Buchanan.
According to the suspect, that's when he shot Berryhill in self defense.
"Police believe that may not be the case," said Buchanan.
Two days after the shooting Berryhill's body was found in a ditch behind the Prichard Mini Mall.
Berryhill's father, Joseph Berryhill Sr., pushed investigators toward the resolve of this case.
He spoke to FOX10 News on Tuesday, April 23.
"I took it upon myself to go around from door to door around here, and ask questions," said Berryhill, Sr.
Police said a number of witnesses were brought in, and they looked into the suspect's Facebook for more answers.
"Apparently, they were all friends and on their pages they flashed money. They flashed guns," said Buchanan.
Police said multiple witnesses point to the 14-year-old, and they believe his story is not consistent with self defense.
It's a claim Berryhill, Sr. said he doesn't buy, either.
"He was a smart boy. He was into computers, and I don't think he could have provoked anyone to shoot him like that," said Berryhill, Sr.
Police said the suspect's father brought him into the police department Friday, April 26.
He is charged with murder, and it will be up to the district attorney to decide whether to charge him as an adult.
Berryhill's funeral is Saturday, April 27, at Mt. Calvary Baptist church in Prichard at 11 a.m.
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