UTICA — A situation where minors had easy access to weapons led to tragic results Sunday when a Heath High School student was fatally shot by a friend, a freshman at Utica High School.
A press release from the Licking County Sheriff’s Office said a 9-1-1 call was received about 1:30 p.m. and 17-year-old Tyler Gargus was found dead at the scene when emergency personnel arrived. Gargus had sustained a single gunshot wound to the face.
Sixteen-year-old Zachary Harvey of 9758 Stradley Road N.E., St. Louisville, admitted that he accidentally shot his friend while they were in his bedroom. According to statements, both boys were playing with firearms, which were believed to be unloaded. Harvey was arrested that evening and placed in juvenile custody.
The Licking County Prosecutor’s Office has charged Harvey with a first-degree misdemeanor of negligent homicide for negligently causing the death of another with a deadly weapon.
Regarding minors and firearms Capt. Dave Starling said, “Obviously, we would want to make sure the parents keep their weapons secured and locked away. That’s the best advice I could give them.”
In addition to the shotgun, which killed Gargus, Harvey also apparently had a bow and a 22-caliber rifle in his bedroom.
According to Knox County Assistant Prosecutor Chip McConville, he said it is illegal to sell a firearm to a minor and it is illegal to furnish a firearm to the minor except for the purpose of taking a firearm safety class, sports shooting or hunting, all under the supervision of a responsible adult.
Harvey is being held in a juvenile detention facility in Lancaster.
News staff reporter George Breithaupt assisted with this article.