Crime & Courts

Teen booked after fatally shooting friend

Fooling around with a gun went from horseplay to homicide in south Wichita this weekend, police said Monday.

A 16-year-old boy was showing off two handguns, a .38 and a .357, to a 17-year-old girl, Lt. Ken Landwehr said at a City Hall briefing.

While he was holding the .357, he walked around a corner in his house and saw the girl's 16-year-old brother, a friend of his.

He pulled the trigger — and shot his friend in the lower chest.

"I believe he thought the gun was unloaded," Landwehr said.

An investigation determined the gun had been stolen from the grandfather of the first 16-year-old, Landwehr said, but authorities aren't sure who may be responsible.

They're also not sure where the .38 came from.

The parents of the boy with the gun were at a movie at the time of the incident, Landwehr said. The incident happened at a house in the 3300 block of South Broadway.

The 16-year-old was driving the victim to the hospital when he flagged down a patrol car in the 2200 block of South Broadway and asked for help.

An ambulance took the victim to Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis, where he died early Sunday morning.

His friend was booked into the juvenile detention center on suspicion of second-degree murder. The Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office will make the final determination on what charges will be filed, Landwehr said.

State statute allows for second-degree murder charges to be filed in cases where someone is killed as a result of reckless handling of a weapon, he said.

Five bullets were found on a bed in the house, Landwehr said, indicating someone had emptied the gun before carrying it around.

But whoever removed those bullets either forgot or didn't realize there was a round in the gun's chamber, Landwehr said.

There was evidence of alcohol and possible marijuana use prior to the shooting incident, he said.

Charges are not likely against the parents, Landwehr said, but that determination ultimately rests with the District Attorney's Office.

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