Boy, 11, upset about doing chores before shooting himself, PCSO says

An 11-year-old boy who reportedly shot himself in the head may have been upset over being asked to do chores, according to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.

Samuel Epps of San Tan Valley died at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2, about two hours after PCSO received a 911 call during which the caller reported his son had shot himself in the head with a gun, according to PCSO spokesman Tim Gaffney.

A FundRazr.com account set up to help with funeral expenses had raised $21,621 by the morning of Sept. 5, according to links from a Facebook page set up in the child’s name.

PCSO received the 911 call regarding a medical emergency in the 500 block of East Red Rock Trail at 6:48 p.m., according to a press release issued by Mr. Gaffney.

Deputies and medical personnel arrived at the home within minutes, according to the release. As they entered the home, they found the child and his father in the master bedroom. The child had a single gunshot to his head but was still breathing and had a pulse, according to the release.

The child used a 9 mm handgun that belonged to his father, according to an e-mailed response to questions from Mr. Gaffney. His father is Sgt. Bryan Epps with the Arizona State UniversityPolice Department, according to CBS 5 News. Mr. Gaffney told CBS 5 News the weapon Samuel used was not his father’s service weapon, according to the TV station’s website.

The mother was not at home, but three siblings were, Mr. Gaffney told CBS 5 News.

A medical helicopter landed at The Golf Club at Johnson Ranch, 30761 W. Golf Club Drive in San Tan Valley, where it picked up the patient and transported him to the Maricopa County Medical Center, 2601 E. Roosevelt St. in Phoenix, according to the release.

An investigation by PCSO detectives indicated Samuel had become upset after being asked to complete some chores. According to the release, he went into the home’s master bedroom; a short time later family members heard a single gunshot, according to the release. Samuel’s father went to the bedroom but found the door was locked. After forcing the door open, he found his son on the floor next to the bed and called 911, according to the release.

The boy’s body has been taken to the medical examiner’s office to determine the cause of his death, according to the release.

ASU released the following statement Wednesday:

“Arizona State University is deeply saddened and offers its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Sgt. Bryan Epps, whose 11-year-old son passed away as a result of a firearms incident. The university is making counseling services available to friends, family and fellow officers in the ASU Police Department who are dealing with this tragic loss. Our hearts and thoughts are with Sgt. Epps and his family at this difficult time.”

PCSO does not plan to charge the father for having an unsecured gun in the house, according to Mr. Gaffney’s e-mail. The case is still under investigation, according to the release.

Editor’s note: Through partnership Independent Newsmedia Inc. USA is publishing information provided by CBS 5 News. The story can be found here.

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