A tragic gun accident left a 13-year-old boy dead on Monday.
Around 2 p.m. yesterday, Hawken Hemmerle, 13, and his friend were playing at the boy’s house when a loud bang came from the room they were in. The girlfriend of the boy’s father was home, and rushed upstairs to see what the commotion was.
When she found Hemmerle, he was bleeding profusely from his head. He’d been shot by his friend. Police believe the boys were playing with the gun and the shooting was a reckless accident.
"They had bullets and I think they knew it was loaded,” said Lt. Mitch Hill of the Green Township Police Department said. “I don't believe, at this point, there's no evidence that he tried to kill his friend, but I think they were being reckless sometimes, as teenagers can do.”
Hemmerle was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead shortly after arriving.
Tony Hemmerle, father of the boy, told WKRC in Cincinnati that he hopes his son’s tragic death can at least make people realize guns should not be viewed as toys.
"I just want all the young adults and kids who think it's cool to hang out and play with guns to realize two things," Hemmerle said. "Guns are always loaded and the one you think is not loaded is the one that's going to hurt you or your friend."
Police believe Hemmerle’s friend stole the gun from another friend’s house and brought it over.
Dozens of sympathetic supporters gathered in front of the Hemmerle’s house for a vigil last night. Of all the people affected by Hawken’s death, his father feels most for the friend that accidentally shot him.
"He really has the biggest burden to bear among all of us because he watched his friend die right in front of him," Hemmerle said.
The boy who shot Hemmerle is being held in juvenile custody until a July 9 hearing. Investigators report that he has been charged with reckless homicide and theft.