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One teenage boy dead, another arrested after accidental shooting in West Jordan

West Jordan church parking lot; Handgun file photo.jpg
Posted at 2:30 PM, Jul 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 00:29:52-04

WEST JORDAN, Utah — A teenage boy was accidentally shot and killed by his friend early Saturday morning in West Jordan.

Two boys, age 13 and 15, snuck out in the middle of the night, according to the West Jordan Police Department.

One of the boys brought a handgun with him, and the boys were messing around with it. At some point, the 15-year-old accidentally pulled the trigger, shooting and killing the 13-year-old.

Police say the 15-year-old called 911 immediately, and officers responded to a church parking lot at 5208 W. Cyclamen Way around 1:40 a.m.

“He was distraught, he wanted to help his friend, and he took the steps that he could to best help him after that occurred," WJPD Lt. Richard Bell said.

Although it was an accident, Bell said police determined there was still some "criminal culpability," and the teen was booked in a juvenile detention center on suspicion of manslaughter.

Police will not be releasing the names of either boy out of respect to their families, Bell said. He also said they are not releasing information on which teen brought the gun or how they believe he got it, but it has been part of their investigation and they don't believe it was stolen.

Bell also advised gun owners to practice firearm safety, such as making sure guns and ammunition are secured and stored away from each other, as well as never pointing a gun at anyone or anything you're not trying to shoot.

On Sunday, the father of the victim gave the following statement to FOX 13:

“My son who just turned 13 in March loved to skate, play football,and video games. He had a contagious smile that could warm anyone's heart. You couldn't help but to smile back. He is loved deeply by his parents, many siblings, grandparents, Aunts and uncles. He will be missed immensely.

"Gun safety is of the utmost importance to prevent this kind of tragedy and heartache our family has experienced. We can't stress enough how important gun safety is.”

The victim was later identified as Lance Moorhead, and a GoFundMe campaign has been started to help his family with funeral expenses.