Calif. Boy, 12, Dies After Accidentally Shooting Himself With a Gun Friend Brought to Sleepover
“He was such a good-hearted boy,” the mother of 12-year-old Max Mendoza said
A 12-year-old boy died on Saturday after he accidentally shot himself with the gun his friend, 15, brought to their sleepover.
Identified by his family members as Max Mendoza, the boy was found with a visible gunshot wound outside the Woodland Hills Condominium Complex in the neighborhood of Chula Vista in the San Diego, California, area. Max was transported to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead, the Chula Vista Police Department announced in a Tuesday press release.
"Everybody loves his smile," his mother, Aida Mendoza, told Fox 5 San Diego. "He was such a good-hearted boy."
Max is survived by his mother and four sisters, Aida shared.
"Even though he was only 12, you would talk to him and you would feel like you were talking to someone your age," his sister, Macy Mendoza, told the outlet. "He was so mature for his age. He was so wise beyond his years."
A GoFundMe page set up to help the family with funeral costs described Max as "a truly special guy."
"He was charming and funny. He had a heart twice the size of the average kid. He was always willing to share whatever little he had with his classmates even if they weren't his closest friends," a family member wrote on the page. "Max was a kind hearted kid. He was willing to step up and help anyone at any time. He had a million dollar smile. He greeted everyone he saw with his giant smile and lived life with a positive attitude."
Max loved playing soccer and skateboarding, according to the GoFundMe page.
According to police, the 15-year-old friend — whose name is not being released due to him being a minor — brought a gun to his sleepover with Max who then "was given access to the firearm while inside the residence and then accidentally shot himself."
Family members then moved Max outside as they waited for the arrival of officers and paramedics who "attempted life saving measures" before he was transported to a hospital, officials said.
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Police have identified and questioned the teen who brought the gun to the Mendoza home, per their release. They are investigating how the boy obtained the firearm and the identity of the weapon's owner.
Anyone with additional information into the ongoing investigation is being asked to contact San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.