CARLSBAD, N.M. (KRQE) - A Carlsbad boy is dead from a gunshot wound and his teen cousin jailed after what police were first told was a drive-by shooting.
As the investigation unfolded, however, police realized they weren't being told the truth about what happened, Detective Lt. Bryan Burns told KRQE News 13..
"We had looked at the scene, looked at the statements we had, and it just wasn't working," Burns said. "It just wasn't fitting."
He said officers arrived at the home at 408 N. Olive Street around 9 p.m. Wednesday after they got a call that a boy had been shot in a drive-by. Then detectives made a startling discovery.
"Jeremy, the young man that died, actually was playing with a CO2 pistol BB gun that he had been pointing at the other gentleman, and the other gentleman pulls out an actual gun and points it at him," said Burns.
According to investigators that's when Michael Schultz, 15, pulled the trigger and shot Jeremy Hatfield, 12, in the chest. The boy was pronounced dead at Carlsbad Medical Center.
"Based on the statements we have, they were very close cousins as in close to each other in their relationship, so that's just got to be devastating for the family," said Burns.
According to the police report the shooting was accidental. Schultz told police he thought the gun was unloaded when he pulled the trigger.
But Carlsbad police say they still have some unanswered questions, like where did Schultz get the gun, and where were the parents when the shot was fired?
Jeremy's grandfather told KRQE News 13 he thought Schultz got the gun from a friend and said Jeremy's mom was at work when her son was shot.
"You just hold your kids close. That's all you can do," said Burns. "Try to teach them to do the right things and make the right decisions, but ultimately you can't always be there."
Police said Schultz was living with the Hatfields, but so far they don't know why.
Schultz is charged with involuntary manslaughter, tampering with evidence for lying and unlawful possession of a handgun by a person under the age of 19.
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