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13-Year-Old Shot at JBLM Has Died; Friend Charged

Joint Base Lewis-McChord

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- A 13-year-old boy who was shot in the face last week at a military base in Washington state has died, and his 17-year-old friend remains in juvenile detention, police said Monday.

The boy died Sunday night at a hospital, where he was taken after being shot last Tuesday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, said Lakewood Police Lt. John Unfred.

Unfred told The Associated Press the boy sneaked onto a remote, wooded part of the base with his 14-year-old brother and their friend, apparently so they could "shoot off a few rounds" from an old handgun they had somehow obtained. They entered the base through a hole that had been cut in a perimeter fence that abuts a neighborhood, he said.

The victim's brother told authorities that the three boys were walking in the woods when he heard a gunshot; he turned to see his brother lying on the ground and the 17-year-old holding a gun, court records said.

The older boy, who ran off after the shooting, later said it was an accident, The News Tribune newspaper of Tacoma reported, citing court records. He pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of third-degree assault and unlawful possession of a firearm, charges which had not been changed as of Monday morning.

Lakewood police are investigating how the boys got the gun, Unfred said. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms ran a trace on the weapon, which showed the last official documentation of it to have been a sale in Kansas about 35 years ago, he said.

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