SHELBY, NC (WBTV) - Michael Parsons was always careful around guns. The 17-year-old, who was going to be a senior at Crest High School in Shelby when school starts in a few weeks, was an avid shooter and hunter who went to as many safety classes as he could.
But an accident turned tragedy Saturday afternoon. While Parsons was cleaning his hunting rifle, he accidentally shot himself and died.
"We were robbed of an amazing person," said Myrtle Parsons, Michael's mother.
Parsons' family told WBTV Michael loved comic books and cartoons, was always happy and telling jokes, and wanted to be a welder when he graduated from high school. He was a straight-A student.
But the most important thing to him was his family.
"He would just randomly walk up to me and just hug me and tell me, 'dad I love you.' And it's the same with his mother, out of the blue, for no reason at all. He'll walk up to you, tell you he loved you and wrap his arms around you," said David Parsons, Michael's father.
As Michael's family continues to mourn, they have a message for families with guns: be careful.
This tragedy has not changed their view on guns, but they want to make sure other families don't go through what they have over the past few days.
"Believe me, you don't want to do this. This is unbearable," David Parsons said.
Michael's family said he was always safe and responsible around guns. They said they want families to know one accident has turned their world upside down.