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Shungnak boy killed by shot from pistol children were playing with

  • Author: Tegan Hanlon
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published March 6, 2015

A 7-year-old boy from the Northwest Alaska village of Shungnak died early Thursday after he was accidentally shot by another child, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Stanley Custer and other children were playing unsupervised in a home when they discovered a pistol. They thought it was a toy, according to trooper dispatch posted online Friday.

One child unintentionally fired the pistol, said troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters in an email. A bullet struck Custer in the head. The other children ran to get an adult. The family was on scene immediately after the pistol fired, troopers said.

Troopers in Kotzebue were notified of the shooting shortly before 10 p.m. Wednesday.

The boy was taken to a health clinic in Shungnak, but he needed advanced life support. A medevac was ordered.

While the medevac was en route to Shungnak, troopers were notified that Custer had been declared dead at 12:06 a.m. Thursday. The medevac was canceled, troopers said.

The investigation is ongoing. The other children in the home were not injured, Peters said.

"The public is encouraged to store weapons in a manner to prevent tragedies like these," she said.

This article has been updated with additional information from Alaska State Troopers.