He didn’t know the gun was loaded.
The 14-year-old Massachusetts boy had recently found his mother’s handgun, which she kept hidden under her mattress for protection.
“Promise me you’ll never touch it,” his mother, a single mom, had asked him.
But the lure of the gun was irresistible. He decided to show it off to his neighbor, 12-year-old Brian Crowell.
“He was going, ‘Click, click, click,'” pretending to shoot the gun, says Brian’s mother, Ann Marie Crowell, who spoke to the child and his mother after the incident. “But there was one last bullet. It went into Brian’s neck.”
And just like that, Crowell’s son was gone.
Nearly 800 children under 14 were killed in gun accidents from 1999 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly one in five injury-related deaths in children and adolescents involve firearms.