WAYNESBURG — A 16-year-old boy died from a gunshot wound to his head Friday night, police have reported.
Lincoln County Sheriff Curt Folger identified the boy as Cody Mesaris of Waynesburg.
Mesaris and two friends were in a room at his home along Ky. 1247 in the Waynesburg Area when the shooting happened, according to reports from police.
Mesaris' mother was at the home as well, Kentucky State Police spokesman Paul Blanton said.
Lincoln County Sheriff's deputies and Waynesburg EMS responded to the scene after a 911 call was made shortly before 10:30 p.m. reporting that a juvenile male had been shot.
Lincoln County Coroner Farris Marcum said he pronounced Mesaris dead at 10:45 p.m.
Folger said his department's initial investigation suggested it might have been an accidental shooting, but after learning that more than one person was in the room when the shooting occurred, deputies handed the case over to state police.
"We felt like it would be best to have KSP come in and do a thorough investigation," Folger said.
Blanton said KSP's investigation has not determined yet whether the shooting was accidental or intentional, or whether the wound was self-inflicted.
Marcum said he thinks it's likely an accidental shooting, but officials will need to learn more from the two other boys who were in the room before they can know for sure.
“There is no definite cause of what happened," Marcum said. "It’s kind of cloudy right now. You’ve got three boys fooling around with a gun behind closed doors. There’s no telling what could have happened."
Blanton said the investigating officer, Trooper Rodney Wren, has spoken with one of the two surviving 16-year-old boys who were in the room when the shooting happened. Wren knows the identity and address of the other boy but had not yet located him Saturday evening.
"You've got some 16-year-old kids and a pretty traumatic experience and if they think they're going to get in trouble, they're going to lie," Blanton said. "He (Wren) may have to interview the same kid three or four times before he knows what happened. It could be a pretty lengthy investigation."
Marcum said the boy who was interviewed at the scene told investigators the three boys were handling a loaded pistol in Mesaris’s bedroom. The boy said he passed the gun to Mesaris and had looked away when he heard a gunshot and turned around to see his friend crumpling to the floor, Marcum said.
The gun belonged to Mesaris, a gift from his mother, Marcum said. Mesaris mother was home but did not hear the gunshot because the boys were playing loud music the room, he said.
Until police know more definitively why the gun was fired and who fired it, the case is being investigated as a death investigation, Blanton said.
Blanton said the handgun was moved to a different location after the shooting, but KSP has recovered it. The gun was only fired once, he said.
Marcum speculated the boys might have been playing Russian Roulette or some other type of game with the gun.
Blanton confirmed, “that’s one of the scenarios Detective Wren is looking at.”