HALIFAX COUNTY, N.C. — A 12-year-old boy who ran away after Halifax County investigators said he shot and killed his younger brother and injured his cousin is back with his family after an intense search Thursday afternoon.
Investigators said shooting happened in a rural area near the Hollister community, off Evans Farm Road.
Officials said Niklos Evans, 12, was playing with 20-gauge shotgun when it went off accidentally.
According to investigators, the buck shot struck and killed his 10-year-old brother and hit the boys' 8-year-old cousin, who is listed in critical condition at Pitt County Memorial Hospital.
After the shooting, Niklos reportedly ran away from the area and into the woods. A search for the missing boy covered a 15-square-mile area.
"He's probably in shock and he's scared and we are doing everything we can to find the missing child," Halifax County Sheriff Jeff Frazier said around 5:30 p.m.
Just before 6 p.m., boy was found by WRAL photojournalist Ken Bodine.
"I was shooting some video when I heard some footsteps behind me," Bodine said. "I turned around, saw this boy, and I said, 'Nick?' He said, 'I'm so cold and so scared. How's my brother?'"
WRAL contacted authorities and Niklos was kept warm in WRAL's satellite truck until they arrived. The boy was reunited with his family and was taken to a hospital.
"I'm thrilled they found him before it got dark because it was getting cold and I know he was scared, I'm just glad we found him," said Jeffery Boyd, the boy's uncle.
Authorities believe the shooting was accidental, but said charges may be filed against the parents for keeping a loaded and unsecured gun in the home.
On the same day as the shooting,
was in Halifax County handing out free gun safety locks to help prevent this kind of tragedy from happening.