A Colorado teenager, Premila Lal, was shot dead by a family friend during a harmless prank that went terribly wrong. She jumped out of a closet to surprise 21-year-old Nerrek Galley who thought she was an intruder and shot her. She died an hour later.
The 18-year-old track star was on her way to a high school football game with her 12-year-old cousin when they decided to stop by her uncle's family home. Galley, a close family friend, was at the house with Premila's 15-year-old brother. Premila and her cousin sneaked into the house and hid themselves to scare Galley and her brother. On hearing sounds, Galley, a gun owner, armed himself and gave the 15-year-old a gun to search the house for what he suspected were intruders.
When Premila screamed and jumped out of the closet to surprise him, he turned around and shot her before realizing that she was one his best friends. Galley and others took her to the local hospital. Praveen Lal, Premila's father said Galley carried her "right to the table." She died an hour later.
Premila's family members said the two were close and Premila, a college-bound graduate, had persuaded Galley to pursue higher education. Police did not suspect the involvement of alcohol or drugs. In a statement, police said the teenager's death was "unintended and extremely tragic."
Premila was a popular student and a track star at her high school. Her team wore her initials to honor her at a cross country meet.
Galley was arrested on suspicion of providing a firearm to a juvenile, child abuse and reckless endangerment. He has not been arrested on charges directly related to shooting and killing Premika.
The victim's father, Praveen Lal, said Galley will have to live with killing his mentor and best friend. He told Times-Call, "He is like an older son to me. He has got a life sentence already."
Praveen said that before Premila was pronounced dead he spoke briefly with Galley who told him he didn't want to touch another gun, which was, according to Praveen, "a major change of attitude for a man who was interested in shooting and gun ownership."
He also told a local TV station, "We lost a daughter, so we don't want anybody else to lose their son, you know, especially when it was accident."
Madhuri Lal, Premila's older sister said, "We don't want him to go to prison."
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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