A young man lost his life while posing for a selfie — he accidentally shot himself with the gun he was holding. The Houston Police Department said in a statement that 19-year-old Deleon Alonso Smith died Tuesday while taking selfies. Apparently the teen posed with a gun to his head and the weapon discharged, shooting him in the throat.
KHOU reports that the victim’s uncle ran to the apartment and attempted to resuscitate him, but that the young man had already died.
According to CBS News, investigators determined that Smith didn’t own the weapon involved; he had simply found it somewhere. Deleon decided to pose with the gun in a series of selfies, some of which featured a cousin, and post the images on the internet. The cousin was reportedly in the other room when the young man shot himself. No other injuries were reported, and the investigation is still ongoing.
— WSVN- 7 News (@wsvn) September 3, 2015
Relatives of the deceased teen insist that the shooting death was a complete accident and not a suicide.
KPHO quoted his sister Daisha Jones as saying of the incident, “It wasn’t like [Deleon] was trying to [shoot himself] on purpose… No, he was not trying to kill himself.”
Smith’s family members are beside themselves with grief over the tragedy.
“It’s the worst feeling in my life,” uncle Eric Douglas told KPRC.
“It’s a numb feeling,” said Smith’s grandmother Alma Douglas. “It’s still unbelievable.”
“Yesterday was my birthday and he came to wish me, ‘Happy Birthday,’ and now this kind of news.”
Family members told KHOU that he is survived by two young daughters.
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) September 2, 2015
Fatal selfies are an increasing problem among people around the world. There have been multiple accidental shooting incidents like this, and also reports of persons falling to their death or being attacked by wild animals.
It’s feared that selfie deaths will only increase as people take for granted that certain behaviors aren’t safe when taking a selfie. CNN reported that Russian authorities were so concerned by perceived safety risks that they published safety brochures for distribution.
Brochures aside, often these tragedies can be prevented by greater awareness and common sense. If whatever photo is being taken could cause injury or death, it’s strongly advised that you reconsider the impromptu “photo-op.”
Deleon Alonso Smith was just one day away from starting college when one wrong selfie decision cost him his life. Instead, his death leaves two girls without a father and a community in mourning.
[Image Credit: Screen Grab From YouTube/KPRC]