A Lincoln County boy is dead and his younger brother injured after they were shot by a crossbow Saturday evening. The 13-year-old suspect is now in custody at a juvenile detention center.
The three boys involved in the incident were longtime playmates, and those who know them say this is not the first time the victims accused the suspect of violence.
Heartbreaking moments unfolded as 10-year-old Austin Almanza died Saturday, holding hands with loved ones. A witness tells News 9 that Austin's younger brother, 8-year-old Ayden, sat nearby with an arrow lodged in his shoulder.
Sheriff Charlie Dougherty says both children were hit by the same broadhead arrow, fired from their 13-year-old friend's crossbow. Dougherty says it “traveled across (Austin’s) body and exited…on the right side, striking Ayden who was standing behind him.”
The suspect, who the sheriff has not yet identified, told adults at the scene it was an accident. The witness tells News 9 that Ayden said the teen did shoot the crossbow intentionally, after the brothers threatened to tell their parents he was pointing it at them.
The witness says the suspect had just gotten the bow on Friday, and was pointing it at adults the night before the deadly shooting. That person also tells News 9 the suspect shot at the brothers with a BB gun in the past, leaving marks on their skin.
This time he was using a brand new, much more powerful weapon. “10-year-old Austin is not dead because of an accident,” says Dougherty. “He’s dead because of an action that took place, so until something steers us in another direction we’re going to work it as a homicide.”
The sheriff wrapped up his investigation Monday, October 23.
On Monday, October 30, the medical examiner officially ruled Austin's death a homicide.
Charges against the suspect will now be up to the district attorney.
On Monday, the victims' family worked on funeral arrangements. They tell News 9 that the funeral home has donated quite a bit towards expenses, but the family is also asking the public for help through a YouCaring campaign. To donate, click here.