A teenager from Georgia committed suicide after accidentally killing his friend while trying to show off a loaded handgun. The tragedy took place on December 31, 2018.
After an investigation, police have identified the Georgia teenager as Devin Hodges, 15, who shot himself dead. According to an article by ABC News, the incident happened on New Year’s Eve when Hodges brought a loaded gun to a make-shift backyard shed in the neighborhood where he met three of his friends. While he tried to flaunt the gun, it went off and hit his 17-year-old friend, Chad Carless. The wound turned out to be fatal.
Upset and worried after killing his friend, eyewitnesses told police that Hodges fled from the scene and wandered a few houses down the neighborhood before entering a random backyard and shooting himself dead with the same gun.
Per the article, the Gwinnett County Police Department said in a statement that the tragedy took place at around 3:15 p.m. in the upscale Atlanta suburb of Lawrenceville. Further investigation is still in progress.
In the statement, police said that it is believed Hodges called 911 before taking his own life. According to the report, neighbors have been shocked by the tragedy and one resident of the area, named Tanya Guiterrez, told WSB that people can’t wrap their head around the incident because the boys were so young, adding that “something like this has never happened before” [in the neighborhood] and its “sad and tragic.”
“It really touched home, coz I have a 15-year-old and I am just happy that he is safe but starting the New Year and knowing that the families are going to go without their loved ones is really hard [sic].”
On social media, people not only expressed their sympathies for the affected families but also stressed the need for gun control in the United States. Joseph Sakran, a trauma surgeon, added on Twitter that the tragedy shouldn’t be called an “accident” because it was preventable.
We barely begun the #NewYear yet and have to ready such stories.
1. This is not an “accident”, use the correct words.
2. Lock Up Your Firearms – 4.6 Million Children live in homes with unlocked and loaded weapons.
— Joseph Sakran (@JosephSakran) January 1, 2019
“No word on how the teen gained access to a gun. There are 300 million guns in this country. Finding one is much easier than it should be,” another Twitter user opined. Another user added that Americans “are a nation of deviants when it comes to guns.”
Many users also said that instead of blaming the tragedy on the issue of gun control, the gun owner who left the weapon unsecured should be criminally charged.
“If you’re not willing to take the responsibility of securing a firearm seriously, then don’t own one. Take up a hobby like golf or tennis and find another way to protect yourself,” another user added.
A tragedy without a doubt. Maybe you all should pay attention to the gun safety awareness that the NRA has been pushing for 30 years? Maybe be responsible for teaching your own kids what to do if they find a gun, or see a friend playing with one?
— Conservative not Republican (@billypeso) January 2, 2019