The mother of the 17-year-old charged in the fatal shooting of Autumn Higgs in Englewood on March 31, was arrested Wednesday on a warrant for “knowingly and willfully permitting her juvenile son to unlawfully possess a firearm,” confirmed the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.
Lori Lynn Wik was arrested and taken to the Charlotte County Jail. She was released on $5,000 bond.
Her son, Hayden Jeffrey Wik, 17, was arrested June 9 on charges of manslaughter with a firearm and possession of a firearm by minor in connection with the death of Higgs, his 16-year-old girlfriend.
Hayden Wik was released on $27,500 bond. His arraignment is set for July 12 before Judge Donald H. Mason. He has entered a written plea of not guilty. His case was assigned to public defender Toby Oonk, who couldn’t be reached for comment.
Lori Wik is set to be arraigned July 26. Her attorney, Dennis Wallace, could not be reached for comment.
Court documents related to Lori Wik’s arrest revealed several details about the events leading up to Higgs’ death at Wik’s home on Euler Avenue in Englewood.
Lori Wik said she was lying in bed when she heard a loud noise and assumed something had fallen in the house. Her son Hayden Wik and his friend Heath Hoover, whose name is redacted in the report, ran into the room and told her the gun went off and shot Autumn Higgs.
Another couple, who also lived in the house with their infant son, said they heard a “loud pop.” They heard Hayden Wik “screaming” and “saw him becoming more hysterical running through the house.”
Lori Wik ran into the bedroom where she saw Higgs, who wasn’t moving, and a mini-Draco — a semiautomatic pistol — on the bed.
She called 911 and the operator told her to straighten out the body flat on her back so she could start CPR.
Meanwhile, Hoover took Wik outside to calm down.
Deputy First Class Hauschild was dispatched to the home around 8:51 p.m. Upon arrival he saw Wik and Hoover running down the street toward him. They told him Higgs was in the right rear bedroom. Hauschild entered the home and noticed there was a long-barrel handgun and an extended black magazine lying on the foot of the bed.
Paramedics soon arrived, but Higgs was declared dead at 9:22 p.m.
In Lori Wik’s statement, she said all of the firearms in the home belong to her and are usually kept in a gun safe to keep them away from Hayden Wik who, she said, “likes to take them apart and put them back together like his older brothers who are in the military.”
She said Hayden Wik had been taught gun safety.
Lori Wik told law enforcement Autumn Higgs and her son had a good relationship and that Higgs was given a key to the residence so she could come and go as she pleased.
When interviewed, Hayden Wik told detectives he and Higgs had been together about 11 months. He said they have fought in the past and argued, but said they were in love and had a good relationship.
He said Higgs had been depressed but not suicidal. She was in the room with the guns while he took a shower after work. He said he believed Higgs loaded a round into the gun because he said it was the only way a bullet could have gotten in that gun.
In a sworn statement from Heath Hoover, he said Higgs and Wik “were semi-bickering, almost arguing before the gun went off.” He said he heard the single shot and watched Higgs fall from the bed as he turned to see what had happened.
Taken to CCSO District One headquarters, Hayden Wik recounted the day’s events. He, Higgs and Hoover went to Planet Fitness, then out to eat and got gas before arriving home at 8:40 p.m.
They played video games in Hayden Wik’s room; on the bed was the Draco 9mm AK pistol and a rifle which Wik placed there before going to the gym. Both firearms were left on the bed as the three hung out in the room.
Wik said he began to put away the firearms. He cleared the AR15 and proceeded to handle the Draco. After he removed the magazine, he noticed it was empty, just like he claimed he saw it earlier in the day. He placed his finger on the trigger and noticed there was tension on the inner springs, meaning the internal firing action was cocked and ready to fire.
Wik said he held the Draco at waist height, with the rear grip in his right hand, and the barrel facing towards Higgs. Without checking to make sure there were no live rounds in the weapon, he pulled the trigger. The Draco fired a single round that struck Higgs in the face under her left eye.
While being questioned by law enforcement, Wik became hysterical and made suicidal comments, including “Shoot me, shoot me now!” He tried to strangle himself with seatbelts in a CCSO vehicle. He was taken into custody under the Baker Act and transported to the Charlotte Behavioral Center.
Dr. Russell Vega conducted Higgs’ autopsy. He concluded the cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the head, and the manner of death was homicide.
Investigation documents showed that Wik condoned her son Hayden to have “unrestricted access to both firearms and ammunition, unsupervised.” “Lori knowingly and willingly” permitted Hayden Wik to possess firearms inside and outside the home residence.
The Daily Sun learned of the shooting on April 30 after an out-of-state relative called the paper and said he heard Higgs was shot and killed.
Karen Mercer, Higgs’ grandmother, said of Lori Wik’s arrest, “She was a pretty nice person, but you can be a church person and still be irresponsible. What happened to tough love?”
Mercer said Lori Wik “was responsible” for Hayden Wik shooting and killing her granddaughter.