GRANITE FALLS, NC (WBTV) - A Caldwell County teenager is dead after family members say he was showing off a pistol on video chat and the gun went off. Investigators are calling the incident an "accidental shooting."
Sixteen-year-old Dekota Smith was at his home along Baton Church Road Sunday night, according to his family, showing the pistol to a friend. The friend told family members they could see Smith's face on the screen, then all of a sudden they could only see the ceiling.
According to his uncle, Greg Johnston, Smith's family was out of town when the incident happened. His grandparents, who live in the home, were upstairs when the shot rang out, but didn't know it came from inside the house.
Dekota's friend called several people to go check on him and they found the teenager with a gunshot wound to the head.
"There was nothing anyone could do," said Johnston.
Investigators say they are looking for additional information, including who owned the gun. Smith's uncle says it was left behind when someone in the house moved out. He says the family didn't know it was there.
He says Dekota was a "good kid" and a that lot of people will miss him.
Dekota was a sophomore at South Caldwell High School, where extra counselors, clergy and others came to comfort the students. According to a school spokesperson, he was involved in the school's wrestling team, track and ROTC.
"He was well-loved and he was well-respected on this campus," said spokesperson Libby Brown.
Officials say this is a reminder about safety and securing guns inside the home. Sheriff Alan Jones says if you can't afford a lock for your gun, the Sheriff's Office will try and get them for you.