A 13-year-old boy is in detention after fatally shooting his 10-year-old playmate in the abdomen with a crossbow and wounding another boy behind him.
The teen, whose name has not been released, was playing with friends Austin Almanza, 10, and his brother, Ayden Almanza, 8, at a tree fort near the brothers’ home in Oklahoma on Saturday, Oct. 21.
Austin, who was shot through the abdomen with a broad-head arrow, was pronounced dead at the scene while Ayden was transported to the hospital for injuries to his arm.
Lincoln County Sheriff Charlie Dougherty said at a press conference that the incident is being investigated as a homicide, although it’s possible the bow went off of its own accord.
“Our investigation is leading us to the point that there was a disagreement amongst the three prior to the shooting,” he said.
“10-year-old Austin is not dead because of an accident. He’s dead because of an action that took place. So until something steers us in the other direction, we’re going to work it as a homicide.”
When asked about a possible motive, Dougherty said it was too early to say. There were conflicting reports between the two boys, the only witnesses to the event, and investigators still had more people to interview.
The boys, who said they often played together at the treehouse, knew each other very well. Dougherty said he didn’t think there was any animosity between the brothers and the suspect.
The brothers’ great aunt told Fox 25 that the 13-year-old boy was a likable kid, but he always seemed “a little off.”
The bow belonged to him, Dougherty said, and it was given to him by his mother.
The boys were in a clearing as big as a “normal size bedroom,” he said, so the arrow would have been discharged from a relatively short distance. The arrow traveled through Austin’s abdomen and hit Ayden’s arm who was standing to the right and behind him.
Ayden has been released from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.