Austin Wiseman, 12, shot and killed his half-brother Blake Campbell, 9, and then turned the gun on himself at their grandparents’ home in Jackson, Ohio.
An Ohio town devastated by the shooting deaths of two young brothers is reeling again after an autopsy revealed the older brother killed the younger before fatally shooting himself.
Authorities determined Thursday that Austin Wiseman, 12, shot and killed his half-brother Blake Campbell, 9, before shooting himself in the head around 11 a.m. Wednesday.
The boy’s grandparents, with whom they lived, came home from an errand and found the dead boys in the Jackson home’s bedroom, the Columbus Dispatch reports.
Police have not determined yet if the first killing was accidental.
“Our community is deeply saddened by this tragedy and our sympathies go out to all those who have been affected,” Jackson Police Chief Carl Eisnaugle said in a news release.
Police have not determined yet if Campbell, killed first by a gunshot to the head from a few feet away, was shot accidentally. Several guns were found at the scene, police said, including a .44-caliber revolver. Authorities have yet to determine if that gun was used in the murder-suicide, but the handgun was reportedly the only loaded weapon.
Wiseman participated in Boy Scouts with James Coy, a 9-year-old friend. James’s mother, Tammy Coy, said explaining what happened is the hardest part.
The boy’s grandparents returned home from an errand Wednesday to find the boys dead in the bedroom.
“I just don’t think he understands truly what death means,” Tammy told WSAZ-TV. “It’s hard because he goes, ‘Well, will I see him at Scouts on Thursday?’ And I’m like, no James, you won’t.”
Who owns the gun – and how Wiseman got his hands on it – remains unclear. The boy’s mother, Kelly Lenoir Harris, 32, lives in a garage apartment behind the grandparents’ East South St. home. It’s unclear where she was at the time of the shootings.
“This is one of the unspeakable tragedies no community ever wants to deal with,” Jackson Mayor Randy Heath told WCMH-TV. “I’m sure a great number of parents and grandparents all went to bed thinking, ‘Is there any way we can make our children safer?’ And hopefully we’ll have some parents thinking maybe we need to take that extra step.”
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