Two cousins were playing with a gun when it went off
Kent City Schools is mourning the loss of one of its students today.
An 11-year-old boy was killed in Franklin Township on Wednesday in what appears to be an accidental shooting.
The alleged shooter is his 15-year-old cousin. According to the Portage County Sheriff's Office, the two were home enjoying a snow day when it quickly turned tragic. The boys were playing with a gun when it went off.
Channel 3 News has decided not to disclose their names, but we did obtain a recording of the 911 call.
On the phone with 911, a young male caller yells, "Oh my god! He shot him with a pistol. … They were messing with the guns downstairs."
The 911 dispatcher asks, "So it was an accident?"
The caller responds, "Yea, it was a total accident."
It happened on Johnson Road at around 11:30 a.m. When emergency crews arrived at the home within minutes, the 11-year-old Stanton Middle School student was dead.
"Adults, children have a fascination with guns, and regrettably when children have the opportunity, if they can get access to one, they will," Portage County Lt. Gregory Johnson said.
While authorities investigate how the boy and his 15-year-old cousin got access to the semi-automatic weapon, Stanton Middle School is coping with their loss. Principal Anthony Horton said it's been a very solemn day.
"A lot of our students wrote cards for the family, poems, pictures and stuff like that," Horton said. "He was a well-liked young man."
The school gave students an opportunity to grieve and made sure extra counselors were on hand. It's hitting the entire community pretty hard, too.
"It's a shock, and you feel so badly for both families," Marilyn Holloway said. "I don't know what the situation was, but it's just an all-around tragedy."
And it's a tragedy that the Sheriff's Office is hoping will raise some awareness for gun safety in the community.
"This young man's life was taken away, and, hopefully, it prevents one down the road from ever happening again," Johnson said.
He said this is a case no one will soon forget.
Authorities said both families are cooperating and being very helpful given the sensitive situation and circumstances.
When the Sheriff's Office is done reviewing everything, they'll hand the investigation over to the Portage County prosecutor, and he'll review it as well.
There's no word yet on whether there will be charges.