A Passover vacation sleepover ended in tragedy yesterday as 7th-grader Oren Mizrahi of Maccabim-Reut was accidentally shot to death by a classmate who was playing with his father's handgun.
The youth who pulled the trigger was questioned by police on suspicion of manslaughter and then released. His father was also questioned on suspicion of causing death by negligence for failing to keep the firearm locked up as required by law and was released on bail.
Mizrahi and two others students met at a classmate's Maccabim-Reut home Monday, and after enjoying a picnic dinner slept in a tent they had set up in the backyard. Yesterday morning, after the host's parents had gone to work, the three entered the home for breakfast.
"The teen then took his friends to see the handgun his father kept in his bedroom drawer and loaded a cartridge," said Chief Superintendent Yoram Barina, the commander of Modi'in station. "It seems that while he showed his friends the handgun, he cocked the weapon, which for some reason released a bullet, directly striking his friend in the head."
Two of the friends ran home in shock, and the youth who fired the bullet called his mother, telling her, "A masked man came into the house and shot Oren."
A Magen David Adom crew was alerted and came to the home, where they found Mizrahi lying in the living room. "He suffered a head wound and was in critical condition. We tried performing resuscitation procedures and transferred him to the trauma ward at [Sheba Medical Center] Tel Hashomer, but unfortunately after a short while he was pronounced dead," said paramedic Uri Gavriel.
Police investigators brought in the adolescent suspected in the shooting for questioning, and located the two minors who had been present with him at the time of the incident, and they were also questioned and released.
During questioning the youth admitted he had lied to his mother and investigators because he was in shock at what had happened and later admitted to playing with the weapon. At his home, recreated the shooting incident for police.
At the end of questioning he was sent home under limiting conditions. Meanwhile his father, an attorney and former army officer who is a well-known figure in the community, was questioned on suspicion of negligence and released on bail. "This is a tragedy," he said after leaving the courthouse. "I would change places with him."
Police will collect testimony and other investigative material in the coming days, after which the State Prosecutor's Office will likely file an indictment against the youth who admitted to the shooting.
"At this point he is suspected of manslaughter, and from a criminal law perspective he can be indicted, but it will be the state prosecutor who decides which, if any, offenses to charge him with," Barina said.
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