15-year-old seriously hurt after flare gun fired into mouth; 18-year-old charged

CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. — A Caldwell County teenager is in critical condition and another teen is facing charges after an unusual shooting involving a flare gun.

Deputies said a 15-year-old boy named Braden is recovering after 18-year-old Timothy Sanders fired a flare gun into his mouth in Lenoir. Sanders has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.

According to deputies, Braden’s injuries are so serious that they can’t even talk with him to find out more about what happened.

His family said he’s only been able to scratch out one word -- the name of his sister -- who he is close to.

Family members have placed “Bradenstrong” stickers on their cars as the boy recovers at UNC Chapel Hill, where he has undergone several surgeries.

They’re also making shirts and bracelets to help offer support during his lengthy recovery.

Reporter Dave Faherty spoke with Braden’s grandmother, Pamela Poole, who said she can’t even visit him in the hospital because of the pandemic.

“It kinda seemed unreal and we were all scared because we didn’t know much, so we just prayed. That’s all we knew to do,” she said. “We don’t know what happened but we would really like to know.”

Investigators told Channel 9 the two teenagers know each other and detectives are working to determine the motive behind the shooting.

Channel 9 reached out to Sanders earlier about the case. He said he didn’t want to talk about what happened and not to call him again.