A 13-year-old boy is in custody after fatally shooting his 10-year-old friend, Austin Almanza, with a crossbow in Lincoln County, Oklahoma, authorities said Monday.
The teen was playing with Austin and Austin's 8-year-old brother, Ayden, in a treehouse in a vacant lot on Saturday, when the three got into a disagreement, Lincoln County Sheriff Charlie Dougherty said at a news conference.
The 13-year-old then fired an arrow with his crossbow that entered Austin's midsection, traveled through his body, and exited on the other side. The arrow then got stuck in Ayden's arm, who was standing behind his brother.
Austin was pronounced dead at the scene. Ayden was released from the hospital Sunday afternoon and was at home, Dougherty said, adding that he was not badly hurt and he would likely make a "full recovery."
Authorities did not release the 13-year-old suspect's name because he is a juvenile. He is being held at a juvenile detention center, Dougherty said.
The sheriff said that the crossbow appeared to belong to the suspect whose mother had given it to him.
He said the incident was being investigated as a homicide.
"On an incident like this, I think you have to take the word accident plumb out," Dougherty told Fox 25 News. "10-year-old Austin is not dead because of an accident. He’s dead because of an action that took place. So until something steers us in the other direction, we’re going to work it as a homicide."
According to transcripts of the 911 call obtained by Oklahoma News4, the caller told the dispatch: "One of the neighbors...I guess an arrow went through one of the kids and stuck in the other."
After the dispatch told the caller to calm everybody at the scene, the caller responded: "I've got him calmed down. The other is over in the bushes."
Dougherty said the three boys were friends who knew each other well and often played in the treehouse together. He said there were "conflicting stories" about the events that led to Austin's death, but that the investigation was "leading us to the point that there was a disagreement among the three prior to the shooting."
The brothers' family was making arrangements for Austin's funeral on Monday, Dougherty said. A fundraising page was set up to pay for funeral costs and Ayden's hospital bills.
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at email@example.com.
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