The boy was "so distraught over what he had done for whatever reason he decided to take his own life," says Del City Police Maj. Bradley Rule.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on August 6, 2021. It has since been updated.
Trigger Warning: This story contains details of gun violence that may be disturbing to readers.
A teenage boy from Oklahoma, who was handling a gun, accidentally shot his mother in the head, killing her. The shock of what had happed was too much for him, so he went outside, turned the gun on him, and shot himself in the head, too.
According to PEOPLE, Del City Police said the 16-year-old boy was playing with a pistol in the living room of their home when the gun accidentally went off, striking his 36-year-old mother, Stephanie Rowshawne Jennings, in the head.
"The bullet traveled through the wall that separated the living room from the kitchen and struck Stephanie in the head," Del City Police Maj. Bradley Rule said. "She fell to the floor right then and was deceased."
Immediately, the boy—who police have not identified—ran to the kitchen, only to see his mom on the floor, lifeless. Once he "saw what he did", he "ended up running outside to the street where he turned the gun on himself." Police officers responded to a 911 call from a neighbor who reported the crime after hearing a gunshot on the street. When they arrived at the scene, they found the boy lying on the road, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Rule says the gun was resting beside him. "It was terrible," he said. "I don't know if he was messing with it or playing with it. He wasn't cleaning it. It was a firearm in the house."
They rushed him to a nearby hospital, reports KFOR, where he later died.
"We had somebody sitting in the living room when it happened," says Rule. "The eyewitness told us what happened and what the eyewitness told us lined up with the evidence on the scene. I don't think [the witness] knew his intention was to kill himself. I think he knew he was upset over what happened and they were trying to calm him down and then of course he shot himself."
"It was an accident," says Rule. "I'm sure he was so distraught over what he had done for whatever reason he decided to take his own life. The whole thing is terrible."
“It’s tragic. It boils down to an accidental shooting,” Rule added.
“To be handling this firearm and then it goes off, I’m sure that was terrifying in and of itself. But then to go around the corner and see the result of it, shooting your own mother, I can’t imagine what he felt,” said Rule.
Reports suggest that detectives and the Medical Examiner’s Office will continue to investigate the case, to confirm eyewitness accounts with the evidence. “We will still investigate it all the way to the end just to confirm those facts just to make sure there’s nothing else going on… there’s not something going on we don’t know about,” assured Rule.
Though the family did not respond to a request for an interview, they did mention that this was an accident and they are grieving the loss of two of their family members.
Cover Image Source (Representative): Getty Images | Photo by Mongkol Nitirojsakul | EyeEm