Teen dies in Cottonwood Heights shooting, two in custody

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COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah -- A 17-year-old boy is dead and two 16-year-old boys are in police custody after a shooting in Cottonwood Heights Wednesday night.

The shooting happened around 10:30 in the basement of a home near 6800 S Pine Rock Dr.

Lt. Mark Askerlund, Cottonwood Heights PD, said the home is the residence of one of the 16-year-old boys who were arrested and his parents were home at the time.

Police said two 18-year-old women were sitting on a couch and three teenage boys, including the victim, were in a closet at the time of the shooting.

"One of the young men brought the gun to the home and they were showing each other the gun. We believe they actually felt the gun was unloaded," Askerlund said.

The gun involved was a revolver, Askerlund said, but it is not believed the boys were playing Russian roulette.

"It would appear that the guys went into a closet to handle or look at a firearm, pulled the trigger, it went off, struck one of the individuals in the head and killed him," said Lt. Mark Askerlund, Cottonwood Heights Police Department.

Police believe the revolver had been stolen during a residential burglary, but it isn't clear if any of the teens were involved in that burglary.

One of the boys taken into custody was charged with negligent homicide and the other was charged with receiving stolen property. Both were booked into a juvenile detention facility.

Police said the five teens had gathered to celebrate the end of the school year, but police did not have reason to believe drugs or alcohol were factors.


  • Bob

    It doesn’t say whether the gun involved in the burglary was stolen but that would be the logical assumption.
    The first of the 10 rules of safe gun handling is “Always Keep The Muzzle Pointed In A Safe Direction”. Looks like somebody violated that rule.

  • Larry Leckie

    ALL GUNS ARE LOADED ALL THE TIME!! It’s a shame kids aren’t taught about gun safety in school, even if they have no intention of becoming a gun owner. Some people think they are protecting their kids by not exposing them to guns. I think this incident proves that thinking is flawed.

    If the person these kids stole the gun from did not have it in a safe to prevent its theft in the first place, they are equally responsible for this kid’s death.

    • Bob

      Citizens in the State of Utah have a right to be secure in their homes, and if they have no children in the home, they are under no obligation to child proof (read that burglar proof) their homes. If this was Chicago that would be another story. Those responsible for this death are the thief(s) who stole this revolver, those playing with it, and possibly the parents of the juveniles involved.
      My father gave me my first .22 rifle for my 8th birthday, and along with that rifle came the instruction and education that came with it.

    • Eric Cartman

      Larry, that last statement you said is probably one of the dumbest things I have heard. Since when did law abiding people have to responsible for CRIMINALS? Not one of my guns will be a gun safe, those guns need to be accessible incase I need to defend my home. The only person responsible for that child’s death is the idiot who pointed it at him and pulled the trigger. You logic says that if someone steals your car and kill someone with it, you should be tried for murder too. I mean you should have done more to prevent a criminal from stealing it… Another crime is you wasting oxygen…

      • Larry Leckie

        Bob was right, you’re under no obligation to child/burglar proof your home OR your gun. There’s a difference between legal responsibility and moral. You do what you want, my friends, But I will always make an attempt to keep my firearms safe, even from the numbnuts that try(good luck) to break into my home. And it only takes me 3 seconds to access my pistol with a finger-tap code, so it can be done. But if you can sleep well knowing that some young, stupid dumba** killed his equally stupid friend because you could legally leave your gun in a nightstand drawer, that’s fine. I, like you don’t have much respect for any lowlife criminals, but these guys are just so young. I was them once, many moons ago. Luckily I survived my own stupidity and became a useful(somewhat) member of society. It’s a shame this kid didn’t get that chance. This story has made me think that I need to find a way to convince all my non-gun owning friends to at least let me teach their kids gun safety to possibly prevent something like this repeating itself.

      • Bob

        Yes, Larry, I agree that guns are safer if stored in a safe. Were you aware that in the 1950’s if you wanted to blast a stump in your field you could buy the dynamite and blasting caps at your local hardware store? Nowdays you can’t even walk a family member to the gate at the airport. The problem is the decline in basic morality and decency.

        There are risks associated with the home burglary business, and one of them is getting shot by a homeowner. Knowing what I do about my neighbor I sure wouldn’t want to go into his home without being invited.

      • Larry Leckie

        Who the heck is Trish?? She’s not some anti-gunner I hope, that would be harsh. We’re on the same side of the fight, you and me. It would probably be better not to call each other names. Luv yah brother!

  • Amanda

    My heart goes out to the families who are suffering from this! I can’t even imagin what your going through right now! Despite what’s being said on here your an amazing mom,I love you and please let me know if you need anything!

    • Bob

      Amanda, out of respect for the deceased teenager this probably isn’t the best time to describe the parents of any of the thieves as “amazing”. This isn’t a boyish teenage prank. One young man is in the morgue, and the other two are in juvenile detention.
      What else did these thieves steal from these hard working decent homeowners who were victimized?

      • stars

        I dont see anwhere where it says the boys stole the gun. It says it was stolen during a burglary but it isnt clear ig the boys were involved. The thief could have dumped the gun and one of the boys found it. So your just assuming.

      • Bob

        Stars, the story says “Police believe the revolver had been stolen during a residential burglary, but it isn’t clear if any of the teens were involved in that burglary”. Yah, your right. Maybe the tooth fairy put it in their closet.
        Do you honestly think a thief would just dump a gun somewhere and these boys would magically find it?

    • Mick

      Amazing mom?! That was my friends kid that was shot by that “amazing moms” kid. How dare you!

  • melissa

    It doesnt even say they stole the gun. It said it was stolen. It may have been stolen by someone else. Going after a motherfor what her child did, is not going to bring any resolution. This breaks my heart. I pray for both families.

    • Bob

      You fail to grasp the seriousness of this shooting Melissa. Story says “One of the boys taken into custody was charged with negligent homicide and the other was charged with receiving stolen property.”
      Time to quit making excuses for these teenage thieves Melissa. One of them just killed somebody.

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