Grandparents charged after Alexander County teen shoots self in stomach

by: Dave Faherty Updated:

ALEXANDER COUNTY, N.C. - A teenage Alexander County boy is recovering from surgery after accidentally shooting himself near Taylorsville.

The teen's grandparents have been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The 15-year old was with several friends, deputies said, when he shot himself near his stomach.

The grandmother was awakened about 4 a.m. Wednesday at the home 4 miles west of Taylorsville.

"I heard the boys hollering ‘Mama, Mama, get up,’" the teen’s grandmother, Sharon Brown, said.

She found her 15-year-old grandson with a gunshot wound in a shed behind the home.

He and several other teens were spinning a swivel chair inside the shed with three loaded weapons on it, and one of the guns went off when the 15-year-old picked it up.

Deputies were called to the scene.

"They have power to the shed and they have a TV and video games, and they listen to music and that kind of stuff," Bob Benfield, with the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office, said.

A neighbor said he has heard gunshots coming from his neighbor's home.

"I do hear some shooting from time to time," Gerald Pennell said.

Pennell, a gun owner, said he believes children are not being taught the importance of gun safety.

"It seems like in our society, guns are viewed as playthings, play toys with all the videos that are going on in this day and age," Pennell said.

Deputies said the teenager may not have known the weapon was loaded when he picked it up but they did find several bullets at the scene.

Brown said she doesn't know how her grandson got the guns or the other evidence deputies seized from the home.

She hopes the shooting is a lesson for all the teenagers not to play with firearms.

"They don't need (any) guns and all that,” Brown said. “I just want it to be a wake-up call for them. I hate that it had to come to something like this to be a wake-up call."

Connie Brown, 68, and Sharon Brown, 63, were each charged with one count misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

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(Connie and Sharon Brown)

Police also arrested a 17-year-old and Cody Barnes, 20, and Garret Whisnant, 22, and charged each with misdemeanor simple possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of marijuana paraphernalia. 

The teenager is at Frye Regional Medical Center, family members said.

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