|Neal Hammond (left) and shooter Cole McConoughey, both age 15|
Cole then pulled a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver and bullets out of an unlocked drawer, loaded it, spun the cylinder, and started joking around about playing "Russian Roulette." He then aimed the gun at Neal's head and pulled the trigger. Neal was struck in the head and died from the wound by the next morning.
From an article:
Bedford County District Attorney Bill Higgins said there was no indication of any “altercation, animosity or ill will” between the boys.
“This is a tragic example of the consequences of the irresponsible handling of a firearm,” Higgins said in a statement. “Sadly, this is a situation that could have easily been avoided by adhering to two basic firearm safety measures -- always assume a gun is loaded, and never point a firearm at a target you do not intend to shoot. My heart goes out to the family and loved ones of the young man who lost his life.”Here's a better way to avoid such a tragedy: don't allow guns in homes with children, but if you do, keep them locked away.
The victim's parents don't wish to seek charges for the shooter. More from the article:
“I know that this kid could get help in a juvenile facility,” [Neal's father] Hammond said of McConoughey. “I don’t think he’ll get the help he needs in an adult facility.”
For now, Hammond said he and his wife Georgina will rely on their faith to help them digest the “freak accident” that killed their son. And Hammond won’t paint firearms as the villain in the killing either, as Neal “knew about guns” from his father’s experience as a hunter.
“I don’t really blame anybody, it was a freak accident,” Hammond said. “I don’t have any hard feelings toward either youth or anybody. It was just an accident.”This wasn't a "freak accident." Freak accidents are things that are completely unpredictable and uncontrollable, unlike leaving a gun and ammunition within reach of children.
(a related article)
Every gun in the hands of a child must first pass through the hands of an adult.