Cowlitz County sheriff’s deputies are still investigating the death of a 13-year-old Kelso boy who was reportedly shot and killed by his friend Saturday.
The boy, Edgar Vazquez, suffered a shotgun wound after spending the night at his friend’s house on the 1500 block of Carroll Road, Kelso. According to police, he died at the scene. It's unclear why the boys had access to the shotgun.
Deputies obtained a brief statement at the scene from the boy who they believe accidentally fired the gun, Chief Criminal Deputy Charlie Rosenzweig said. Investigators are hoping to interview him once more, he said.
“There are just a few more questions we’d like to clarify and firm up,” he said.
The sheriff’s office will not be commenting on details surrounding the firearm while the case is ongoing, Rosenzweig said.
Ultimately, the decision about whether to charge the shooter rests with the Cowlitz County Prosecutor’s Office, Rosenzweig said Tuesday.
Deputies are not releasing the name of the 13-year-old shooter at this time. The sheriff's office will release the case file when the investigation is complete, Rosenzweig said.
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On Sunday evening, the parking lot of Coweeman Middle School — where Vazquez was an eighth-grader — was packed with more than 100 people for a candlelight vigil.
Extra grief counselors were placed at the middle school on Monday to help students cope with the loss of their classmate, according to a spokeswoman for the Kelso School District.
Additional counselors were also on hand at Butler Acres Elementary School, where Vazquez was a student, as well as Kelso High School, where some of Vazquez’s siblings are enrolled.
At least one school administrator spent extensive time with Vazquez’s family Monday, Kelso School Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich said at a Monday school board meeting Monday.
Cowlitz County mental health agencies provided additional staff to help school counselors, Gelbrich said. The Kelso High School football team walked over to support the Coweeman Middle School football team during its practice, he said. Vazquez was a player of the Coweeman team.
“The ripple effect here is pretty remarkable,” Gelbrich said.
Family and friends have created a GoFundMe.com account to cover funeral expenses and other costs associated with Vazquez’s death.