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Sheriff: Boy, 12, shoots 11-year-old neighbor with assault rifle

Posted August 23, 2008
Updated August 27, 2008

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— A 12-year-old boy accidentally shot an 11-year-old boy with a military-style, high-powered assault rifle on Friday afternoon, Franklin County Sheriff Pat Green said.

The 11-year-old, Giovann Lopez, was jumping on a trampoline during a birthday celebration when he was shot once at 4842 U.S. Highway 401, outside of Youngsville, around 4:30 p.m.

The bullet went through Lopez's arm, grazed his chest and hit his other arm, taking out some flesh, Green said.

Lopez was taken to WakeMed in Raleigh, and Green said the boy was expected to recover.

The 12-year-old boy was playing with the rifle when he shot Lopez, deputies said. The boys are neighbors and friends.

Deputies arrested the 12-year-old's father, Pablo Mendoza, 31, and charged him with misdemeanor failing to secure a weapon. He was released from jail on a written promise to appear in court.

Green said that the Franklin County district attorney will decide whether to charge the 12-year-old boy.


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  • familyfour Aug 25, 2008

    Those that have arms SHOULD know to educate everyone in your home about them. How to use them, how not to use them, what they can do, and how dangerous they are. Guns are definitely more dangerous in the hands of those that are uneducated about them. This is definitely an adult responsibility, and since he did not 1) properly secure the weapon (if the child could get to it, it is not properly secured) 2) properly educate his child; he should suffer the consequences, and should no longer have the right to own a gun of any type.

    My personal view: MOST of the people I have found that do not believe in the right to bear arms know very little about them, and have been exposed to them very little, if at all.

  • mpheels Aug 25, 2008

    "However if the governmnet were to become so tyannical that the Vast majority of the population were to rise up then yes the people could take their governmnet back and begin anew. Remember, under such circumstances Many of the military would rebel as well."

    And in those circumstances we still don't need individual private citizens owning assault rifles.

  • Adelinthe Aug 25, 2008

    dplowman - "...I have and do hunt with a AK-47S..."

    Whatcha hunting for with an AK47, Bigfoot???

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • foetine Aug 25, 2008

    Elizabeth Dole approves AK-47s in your house.

  • jjslilred Aug 25, 2008

    how funny that this was turned into an immigration issue by some just because of this family's last name...

  • humbleblaklady Aug 25, 2008

    Given all the circumstances, when a 12yr old gets a hold of his "parent's AK47"; the house ought to be at least inspected for drugs and/or weapons.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Aug 25, 2008

    So the 12 y.o. accidently went into his house and got the gun, accidently put bullets in (or not), accidently held it safely and then carried it outside into the yard, accidently took off the safety (or not), accidently held it in shooting position, accidently pointed it at the only other human being in the yard, accidently pulled the trigger while still aiming it and accidently shot the 11 y.o. with a single shot.

    Was all of this really an accident? I could see if they were both in the house, gun was loaded in a closet, got hooked on something as they pulled it out and it went off...but, this story rings of some knowledge, intent and skill. Maybe that's why charges may still be filed.

  • buco Aug 25, 2008

    guns don't shoot people, people shoot people

  • ncguy Aug 25, 2008

    Looking on here it seems that most comments are negative about owning guns.
    My idea of gun control is being able to hit your target! :)

  • dplowman Aug 25, 2008

    Ran out of time but the twelve year old might have just not liked the eleven year old kid and ment to shoot him. Who knows