Local News

Sheriff: Horseplay Led to Hoke Child Shooting

Posted November 15, 2007
Updated November 16, 2007

— A 9-year-old fourth-grader was playing with his sister and his best friend when a handgun went off, wounding him in the head Thursday, authorities said.

The children were alone in a home at 143 Independence Drive in Raeford when the 10-year-old boy who lived there brought out a gun. His parents had tucked the .25-caliber weapon away in a drawer, Hoke County Sheriff Hubert A. Peterkin said.

"Evidently, the son knew where it was and was showing off, horseplaying with it, not realizing how serious it was," Peterkin said. "The gun went off."

A bullet struck the 9-year-old in the head. He was airlifted to WakeMed in Raleigh and remained on life support Thursday night. Hospital staff listed him in critical condition.

"I heard a loud pop, and since I was ex-military, I knew what a gunshot sounded like," neighbor Telly Strayhorn said.

The 10-year-old girl, who is in fifth grade, was not injured. Investigators said they were able to piece together the time line of the accidental shooting by talking to the 10-year-old fifth-grade boy and his parents.

Strayhorn said the accidental shooting shocked him, especially since it involved three children who were close friends.

"I walked him (the 10-year-old boy) to the bus in the morning time," Strayhorn said. "The victim, I knew him, too, because they all ride the same bus.

"That's why it's kind of hard, because ... I knew they were best friends."

Peterkin said the tragic accidental shooting should be another reminder about gun safety, especially when children are involved.

"Anybody we can encourage to secure your weapons, please secure your guns. We just got to do it," he said.

Social workers were called in after the shooting and decided there was no cause to remove the 10-year-old boy who accidentally shot his friend from his home. However, authorities said his parents might face charges.


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  • Robert Larson Nov 16, 2007

    Gun control. Better solution than removing the kids, or the parents or trigger locks or safes. Just remove the guns. Why does anyone need one in the home? They cause too many accidental shootings like this. Homeowners are far more likely to be injured by their own guns than by any assailant. When will we learn?

  • Dr. Dataclerk Nov 16, 2007

    There is a certain age that a child(children) can be left home alone. A good responsible parent,with set rules and regulations would not have a problem with a child being alone. But in todays society, many parents simply are letting their children do whatever they want, when they want, hanging out etc. Then along comes tragedy of whatever kind, we talk, talk, and talk about it never doing anything about it in your own home. We came learn from others like this situation as well. Every mother cannot be a mother and father cannot be a father regardless of the children they may have. Stop letting these children tell you the parents what to do. It should be the parents raising these children. What have we really learn from this situation? Pointing fingers is not the answer. I really do not want to hear in the news anymore after this: Children and Guns. Do you? Lock your guns up for safety. I am praying you do this right now? Don't you be the very one to shed that tear.

  • mommy2caroline Nov 16, 2007

    As a former child protective services social worker, I still asked frequently about what magic age there is to leave children home alone. There is not one specific age defined. I have asked other agencies in other counties and it basically boils down to maturity level. You may have a child who is 8 years old and responsible about all aspects of home safety versus a 12 year old who must have someone around for guidance. Having an exact age identified would be a double edged sword. If they say 10 years old is it then where does the liability go when/if something happens? An across the board magic age does not guarantee maturity, responsibility and safety, even to someone over the age of 18.

  • msudawg Nov 16, 2007

    "My kids know NEVER to touch any gun without permission."

    All it takes is one foolish mistake. Whether it be peer pressure or a hey look what I have. Kids will be kids that is why kids can't legally purchase a gun. I feel very bad for this family because they made a horrible mistake in leaving a gun in a drawer where children had access to it and these kids were left home alone and look at what happened. If you have guns keep them locked up.

    Now as a mother I need to reassess what homes I will let my children play at. I hate to sound overprotective and ask a parent before my kids go to a friends "Do you have a gun in the house?" "Do you keep it locked up?" I guess as parents we need to start asking these questions so that our children don't go to homes with unsecured firearms.

  • damfrisky33 Nov 16, 2007

    It does not matter if the kids were home alone or not. That could have happen if an adult would been in another room. There shouldn't been another kid without parent supervision, because in that age kids like to cut up. It's not about having safety on everything, but kids at that age should know or be taught by the parents about dangers of different object and the safety. School educates the kids about sex, why don't they teach them about violence, dangers and safety. That woud be more educational. Pointing finger does not any good, we all are making mistakes and even if you think you are great parent you have done everything you could, your child can be the one in trouble. My prayers goes to both families.

  • mvnull Nov 16, 2007

    "well the Gun Control Lovers are loving this, this is not the KIDS fault, this is the Parents fault." That's pretty callous. Noone is loving this. A 9 year old child has been shot and may die. Don't let your politics get in the way of that basic fact.

  • KChan725 Nov 16, 2007

    hello??!! Where were the parents??!! At ten years old I was never left alone! I am no way a gun control fanatic, and if you have a gun, teach your kids about gun safety. My family had a farm growing up, we hunted deer with guns and a bow. I knew from childhood about gun safety. And believe it or not Haggis Basher, I never thought about fooling around with one when I was a kid. Because my parents actually TAUGHT me a thing or two, and took RESPONSIBILITY for me.

  • Z Man Nov 16, 2007

    Rev. RB, where did you learn the child died? I don't see that in the article.

  • haggis basher Nov 16, 2007

    "1. My kids know NEVER to touch any gun without permission."

    This is one of the most foolish things I've read this year. If you leave guns lying around where kids can get to them they absolutely will mess with them when you are not around. If you have so little understanding of hows kids think you are unfit to own one gun let alone the arsenal you listed (plus anyone who imagines that they need that many guns for self protection is suffering from paranoia and again should not be allowed any guns!

  • meltfish Nov 16, 2007

    Yes, I agree teaching a kid gun safety is number one priority,
    Yes, I agree the gun should have been a in safer place.
    We need to pray for everyone in this situation!
    The victim and both families!
    This hits home, these people in this story are my family.
    Don't be so quick to judge, we don't know the whole story.
    Pray that the little boy makes it, pray for the strength for everyone involved. Stop being so crude to these people, accidents happen. If this was your family you would ask for that same respect. Hopefully, by some grace of God there will be some good from all of this. Again, please pray for everyones strength.