Community members in a northeast Indiana town gathered Wednesday evening to honor a 13-year old boy accidentally shot and killed by his younger sibling.
Anderson Police tell Eyewitness News 13-year old Logan Armendariz
was killed Monday at home while his parents were at work. Police say the parents did take responsible precautions to keep those guns away from the children.
Logan Armendariz graduated the sixth grade at Daleville Elementary School in May. He would have been starting school next week at the Junior-Senior High School. Wednesday night, the doors were open for his friends, teachers and community members who gathered at the school to write a message for Logan.
Daleville Elementary Principal Kim Beard picked Logan Armendariz's piece of artwork at the end of school last year, not knowing the drawing would mean so much more to her today.
"The design just stood out," she said. 'When I saw it was Logan's, I wanted to give him special recognition and give him that extra boost of confidence."
Now, Beard says the artwork will stay up on her office wall.
"He was just a wonderful boy," she said.
Anderson Police Chief Larry Crenshaw is having a difficult time dealing with the death of this young boy.
"It's so tragic," said the police chief. "Four guns total. Three unloaded. It just had one round in there."
Police say Monday afternoon, Logan was home with his younger sibling at their Middletown house while their parents were at work. The police chief says when mom called to check on the children, the younger sibling told her Logan needed medical attention. The children had found the keys to the safe and picked up one of the guns inside.
Logan died later that day at Saint Vincent's Anderson Regional Hospital from a single gunshot wound to the chest.
"The parents were being responsible. Thought we were safe, secured. Kids that age are curious. I'm sure all of us have had children curious about guns," said Chief Crenshaw.
The chief tells Eyewitness news it was an older model revolver, and his investigators are looking into the possibility the gun malfunctioned. The tragedy is a reminder, Crenshaw says, for residents in Anderson to pick up a free gun lock from police.
"Take every precaution. Educate and train and teach your kids," he said.
Principal Beard says when the time is right, she will talk to her kids as well.
"I've been concentrating on how we are going to help kids handle this," she said. "We could possibly do gun awareness about what could happen."
Anyone in the Anderson and Daleville communities is invited until 7:30 pm Wednesday (Aug. 7, 2013) to sign message boards and make cards for Logan's family. Grief counselors will be on hand next week at all the schools to help.
Logan is survived by his parents, four siblings and other relatives. According to the Herald Bulletin, the family belongs to the East Side Church of God.
Visitation will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Friday at East Side Church of God with a private family service following with Pastor Kerry Robinson officiating. Cremation will take place.
Arrangements handled by Robert D. Loose Funeral Homes, Anderson. Memorial contributions may be made to the family to help with expenses.
Anderson Police also provided these statistics:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) homicide (the killing of a human being by another human being), remains the leading cause of death among youth aged 10-24 years in the United States. No state is immune to the impact of this significant truth, Indiana ranks 25th among other states in the Union for age-adjusted death rates from firearms 10.8 per 100,000 populations. (National Vital Statistics System, 2010)
According to Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gun deaths are expected to exceed traffic fatalities by 2015 and will most likely rise close to 33,000, and those related to autos will decline to about 32,000, based on the 10-year average trend. (Bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-19)
In 2010, the General Social Survey by NORC at the University of Chicago reports the percentage of gun-owning households has fallen since 2004 to 32 percent. The survey also reports that there are at least 1.8 firearms per household or at least 70 million in households nationwide.
This is why the Anderson Police Department believes it is imperative to promote firearm safety awareness, and to offer gun owners with gun locks through its partner, Project Childsafe. Anyone wishing to receive a gunlock from the Anderson Police Department may do so, free of charge.