Local News

Condition of Orange County Teen Upgraded

Posted July 13, 1998

— A 13-year-old boy has been upgraded to good condition at UNC after an accidental shooting Monday afternoon. Investigators are looking into the possibility that negligence may have contributed to the incident.

Ronnie Eastwood, Jr, was shot in the neck while he and his four-year-old cousin were visiting with three young girls at a nearby home on Patrick Road. No parents were home at the time.

Witnesses say the four-year-old boy picked up an antique rifle and shot Eastwood. The owner of the gun, Eddie Lunsford, says as far as he knew, the rifle was not loaded.

"I am concerned about the boy because he got shot, and it was my gun that was involved in it," Lunsford said. "I feel for him. I feel for his family. All I can say is that as near as I can tell, it was an accident."

Lunsford says he and his wife left his three daughters, ages 12, 13 and 14, and a 4-year-old neighbor's child at the house alone that afternoon. They say Ronnie Eastwood arrived later, and after that the parents weren't sure what happened.

According to witnesses, there were six or seven children in the home alone. Ken Maynard was one of the first people on the scene.

"The boy, with three children walking down the road, obviously had some wound to the neck, they said he's been shot. They had a phone in their hand, I called 911. We got him laid down, put pressure on it and stopped the bleeding until the ambulance got here."

Despite an Orange County Sheriff's Department investigation, the Lunsfords still do not know how the children got the rifle, if it was loaded, or how it went off.

"I've taught my children to respect fire arms, even if the fire arm is unloaded it's dangerous," Lunsford said. andAmanda Lamb,Jason Darwin, andKerrie Hudzinski


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