Weekend shooting in Panama City Beach shines light on teen drug use

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The shooting death of a 16-year-old in Panama City Beach Sunday is shining a light on a drug issue in Bay County.

Law enforcement say there are some things parents can look for to see if their kids may be involved with drugs.

Early Sunday morning 16-year-old Arnold High School student Jason Ian Price was shot and killed in a CVS parking lot in Panama City Beach near the Hathaway Bridge.

Bay County deputies say they believe Price went along with another student who was dealing drugs to three men from Alabama.

"Then they got out and did the deal. The victim was still in the vehicle while the deal was going on, but when the robbery started happening they were being struck with guns pointed at them. He got out an intervened and was shot and killed," Major Jimmy Stanford with Bay County Sheriff's Office Investigative Services said.

Major Stanford says before the shooting, the men from Alabama were at a Taco Bell parking lot with four other Arnold High School students. The group allegedly smoked marijuana.

Later, the men from Alabama allegedly wanted to buy more weed so deputies say one of the Arnold students called a friend who sold marijuana. They say Price was with the dealer when he pulled up to the CVS parking lot.

Deputies say these drug deals gone bad are becoming more common. They say most of the homicides they've seen in the last ten years have been drug related.

"We see 'em from teenage to 70 years old," Major Stanford said.

The facts speak volumes to a growing opioid issue in the area. "Every day we're arresting somebody for meth, heroin, cocaine, the pills," Major Stanford explained.

Investigators say several high school students were at the scene of Price's death. Deputies have some tips for parents who may be concerned about their children.

"If they've got money they shouldn't have. If they've got $200 pair of tennis shoes that they really can't afford," Major Stanford said, "Starter jackets and stuff that they know that they don't have the money for, they should be concerned and try to find out where are they getting the resources to buy this sort of stuff."

Parents like Kris Ann Bertrand say education about drugs should start at home.

"I think they should begin in the elementary schools just to educate to know from right from wrong," Bertrand said, "just to know that it's not a good decision and to know the right people to hang out with at an early age."

Deputies say parents should also look out for a change in their child's behavior and if they're suddenly performing poorly in school.

They suggest that parents monitor their children's cell phone usage. They say many of these drug deals are done using text messages and social media.

Two of the three men arrested made their first appearance Monday. They're facing charges ranging from armed robbery to felony murder.

They're being held without bond. Their arraignment date is set for October 3rd.