Friend of teen who shot self on Facetime: 'He thought it was completely empty'
UNION TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - A community is grieving after police say a 14-year-old accidentally shot and killed himself while handling a gun. The tragedy unfolded as he was on a Facetime chat with his friend.
Wednesday evening, several flowers were left outside of his home on the 4200 block of Beechmont Dr. Medics found the 14-year-old boy inside the house around 11 a.m. after getting an alarming call from a neighbor.
"My neighbor's son just came over and said he was on Facetime with a friend and the kid shot himself in the head," said the neighbor in the 911 call.
The 14-year-old's friend then got on the phone telling the 911 operator that the shooting appeared to be an accident.
The 911 operator asked: "Did he say anything before he did it?"
The friend on the 911 call responded saying: "He didn't know there was a live round in it. He thought it was completely empty. He just pulled the trigger and shot himself."
Neighbors who watched the 14-year-old grow up still can't believe he's gone.
"A 14-year-old, 15 a teenage kid. You expect them to live forever. It's been a tough day," said Gary Stroup who lives across the street from the family of the 14-year-old.
He says all the families on the block are fairly close so it's a pain everyone is feeling.
"They all grew up together. All the kids in the neighborhood used to play in the street and do whatever other kids do. It's pretty traumatic," he said.
The friend who witnessed the shooting says the 14-year-old was home alone when he found the gun.
"Do you know who's gun it is," asked the 911 operator.
"It's his fathers," said the 911 caller.
"It's his dad's gun? Was he in the house when you seen it? Did it look like he was in the house," asked the operator.
"His dad's not home," said the caller.
Stroup says his heart also goes out to the teen who watched his friend die on Facetime.
"Can you imagine that kid, the memories he's going to have. You have a tragedy all around on that one today," said Stroup.
He says he hopes at least the teen's death won't be in vain and will remind parents to keep their firearms locked up and hidden away.
The 14-year-old was a student at West Clermont High School. The principal sent a letter went home at the end of the day to inform parents about the incident. The letter says grief counselors were at the school on Wednesday and will be back on Thursday to help students get through the difficult time.
"Dear West Clermont families:
We are deeply saddened to inform you that a student at West Clermont High School passed away today after an accident at home. While it may be tempting for some to speculate, I do ask that out of respect to the family, and for those involved, that our school community refrain from doing so.
As always, but especially in this difficult time, the well being of our students and staff is our top priority. We are providing grief counselors at the high school in both community rooms for those students and staff members wishing to talk. We will have them available today until 4 pm and tomorrow as long as necessary to support our pack through this loss.
We are also in contact with the family to provide any support needed. That includes finding ways that we can be helpful to them as a school community that is in keeping with the wishes of the family.
This is a good time to remind you to talk with your kids about their feelings and their well-being. Let them know that there are resources in place at the high school and in the community if they ever need to talk with anyone. They can contact:
Clermont County Crisis Hotline 513-528-SAVE (7283)
As we move through this very difficult loss, please know that we will try to maintain normalcy for our students. While that will be difficult, our teachers and staff will be sensitive to the student needs. It will take all of us time to work through this, but please do let me know if you have any concerns or thoughts. It is important at this time that our students and staff know that we are one pack and we will take care of each other."
The shooting remains under investigation.
Copyright 2018 WXIX. All rights reserved.