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Middle-schooler says bus shooting was an accident

Posted February 11, 2009
Updated October 12, 2011

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— Fourteen-year-old Dustin Gray had his Wednesday all planned out.

The Zebulon Middle School eighth-grader was to attend a school pep rally in the afternoon and then go home to get ready to see the Duke Blue Devils take on the visiting North Carolina Tar Heels in one of college basketball's most-heated rivalries.

He even dyed his hair Carolina blue for his favorite team.

Dustin Gray Middle-schooler says bus shooting was an accident

But on his way to school, his plans changed when, authorities say, a fellow bus rider shot him in the leg.

"Some little kid brought a gun," Dustin told WRAL News in his first interview after the incident. "He didn't mean to shoot me, though."

Dustin said he was sitting next to an 11-year-old boy on the bus, using his cell phone when, all of a sudden, he felt something hit him above his right knee. And then, he said, he heard a loud shot.

"I didn't cry or nothing," he said. "I was just screaming."

He didn't even see the gun, he said, and thought the shot came from the other boy's backpack.

Dustin called his mom – and not wanting to upset her, told her that something was wrong with his leg and asked her to meet him at the nearest bus stop with an ice pack and juice.

As he waited for her to get to him, he sat and ate a Pop-Tart.

Meanwhile, Dustin's bus driver called 911.

"All of a sudden, I heard a very loud bang," the female caller told the 911 operator. "We smelled an odor, and this kid's got a hole in and out of his knee – just above his knee."

Eventually, Dustin was taken to Rex Hospital, where he was treated for a flesh wound and released.

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said the gun's going off was likely an accident.

Authorities said there was no indication that the 11-year-old boy was carrying the gun for protection or to purposely harm anyone.

His father, Lawrence Lavon Mouzzon, 53, of 5316 New Dixie Court in Youngsville was charged with one count of failing to store firearms to protect a minor.

According to an arrest warrant, Mouzzon left his .25-caliber pistol "in a condition that the firearm can be discharged" and "should have known that an unsupervised minor would be able to gain access" to it.

Mouzzon was released from the Wake County jail without bond and promised to appear for a first court appearance Thursday. He declined to comment Wednesday afternoon.

Harrison said juvenile petitions, which are similar to criminal charges in adult court, could be filed against Mouzzon's son, but the case was still under investigation.

Eight students were on the bus at the time of the shooting, Wake County Public School System officials said. The district notified parents about the incident with voicemails, and counselors were on hand Wednesday to talk with students.

The school system has a zero-tolerance policy for weapons on campus, which includes school buses, and school system officials said disciplinary action against the 11-year-old is possible.

"Today was a scary situation, but one that worked out well and we're thankful for that," said Wake County schools spokesman Michael Evans.

Dustin's father agrees.

While his son casually told his version of what happened to him as if it were not a big deal, Tommy Gray sat and watched as his eyes welled up with tears. He realizes the seriousness of the situation.

"I'm thankful it's not as bad as it could have been," Tommy Gray said. "It could have been several other people getting shot as well. I wouldn't want to wish this on anybody."

Dustin said he's also thankful and knows it could have been much worse. But it does have one big advantage, he said.

His dad says he is staying home from school Thursday – and that means he gets to stay up for the entire UNC-Duke game.

Now, he's only hoping for a Carolina victory.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • tobis19341 Feb 12, 2009

    so this is what we get for diversity in our schools. good to know.

  • cameragirl Feb 12, 2009

    This is scary. I had an 11 year old cousin killed a few years back because he was at a friends house and his friend got his father's gun out and shot him. It's scary when kids know where to find a parent's gun. They need to be locked up and the parent keep the key on their key ring. Too many times this is what happens and it ruins a family. They are devistated. I'm glad that the boy is ok.

  • ignc73 Feb 12, 2009

    I'm glad that this kid was able to defend himself. EVERY CHILD on that schoolbus should have a firearm on his or her person so that they can prevent crime.

  • mmania Feb 12, 2009

    This is a stand up kid. I saw his interview last night and he holds no resentment and says it was an accident. Mom & Dad should be proud and even the parents are just thankful their son is OK. The father said he sure didn't want to be in the shoes of the other man. They sound like people I would want to know, in other words, not ready to pounce on a law suit.

  • YoucanthandletheTRUTH Feb 12, 2009

    Rev. RB---If you can't help but think that...do us all a favor and stop "thinking"....what a waste of a post you made! Race is not a factor in this. If the father was white, you'd be calling him a redneck and want his head for this. Thanks for making problems where problems don't exist. It helps a lot.

  • batcave Feb 12, 2009

    the NRA teaches gun safety---I don't want to live in a police state----the law was poorly written, you are really reaching now, no will to make them work ? again with the vagueness Basher. It is called personal responsibility.

  • haggis basher Feb 12, 2009

    "We have gun laws that are supposed to prohibit what just happened. The law failed --THE GUN CONTROL LAW FAILED, I guess gun control laws don't work."
    Or more likely the law was badly written (there is no checking process that makes sure guns are stored safely for example until AFTER a kid is shot) or badly enforced. The laws don't work because there is not the will to make them work. The NRA does its level best to make sure that will continue.

  • batcave Feb 12, 2009

    We have gun laws that are supposed to prohibit what just happened. The law failed --THE GUN CONTROL LAW FAILED, I guess gun control laws don't work.

  • haggis basher Feb 12, 2009

    Nope we don't need no Gun control, letting fools get guns seems to working out real well. Its well worth a few dead kids so That I can go a pop off a few at targets and critters. (note that the above is sarcasm :)

  • Con Amor Feb 12, 2009

    The boy that took the gun out of the house needs a SERIOUS whoopin!!!!! We ALWAYS, ALWAYS had access to guns as kids. Dad has always had gun racks hangin on the walls with loaded guns in them. We knew better than to take one to school! We also knew how to safely handle them and shoot them. Yeah, we would take them down and go out and shoot at things, but we always knew how to do so safely.