GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The family of the 13-year-old who was shot and killed in Grand Rapids Saturday identified him as Gabriel Hojnacki.
Police say Gabe and his friend were playing with a gun around 10:30 p.m. Saturday at a house on Alpine Avenue between 8th Street and 9th Street. The gun went off, shooting the 13-year-old in the chest.
He was rushed to the hospital, where he died.
The Grand Rapids Police Department believes the shooting was an accident. The investigation is ongoing.
George Gross, the grandfather of the alleged shooter, told News 8 it was his 45-caliber gun the teens were playing with. Gross said he was at work when it happened and he stored the weapon in an unlocked dresser in his bedroom.
Gross said the shooting was an accident and expressed his sympathies for the family of the teen killed.
His grandson was taken into custody.
Gabe’s family told News 8 that he loved fishing, biking and his five siblings.
He was a middle school student at Kenowa Hills Public Schools, the district’s superintendent said in a letter to families.
“This loss is sure to raise many emotions, concerns, and questions for our entire district, and especially for our students,” Superintendent Gerald Hopkins wrote in the letter.
He said the school has a crisis response team to help students and others. Students who need help processing his death can also talk to student services staff members.
Parents and students can also access free mental health services at Pine Rest by calling 800.442.0809 or 616.455.6210, a 24/7 phone number.
“These services are free of charge when you identify yourself as a member of the Kenowa Hills/Pine Rest SAP program,” Hopkins wrote.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Grand Rapids Police Department at 616.456.3400 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.
— News 8’s Madalyn Buursma contributed to this report.