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December 16, 2011

2 Vegas children shoot themselves at their homes

By Christina Silva
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — A 10-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl who used guns found in their homes to shoot themselves in separate incidents on the same day may have intentionally pulled the triggers, Las Vegas police said Thursday.

Government officials called for greater firearm security and care for children in the wake of Tuesday's shootings, which occurred nine hours apart and left the boy dead and the girl in critical condition at a local hospital.

The children did not know each other, Las Vegas police spokesman Bill Cassell said Thursday. It's unknown whether the firearms belonged to their parents.

Kameron Asgari, 10, was a fifth-grader at Helen Jydstrup Elementary School in Las Vegas. It's unclear if he attended school Tuesday morning before shooting himself, said David Roddy, a spokesman for the Clark County School District.

Counseling was made available to elementary school students and teachers returning to school Thursday after a day off for teacher conferences. School officials also sent a letter home to parents Thursday to notify them of the death.

"Please monitor any signs of grief or behavioral changes in your child/children as this loss may affect them in unexpected ways," wrote Principal David Fydman in the letter. "It is important to be honest with him or her and to allow them to express feelings of grief, anger and/or disbelief. Reassure your child that there is always someone with whom he/she can talk and that the many mixed emotions they might be feeling, and may feel for some time, are normal."

Privacy laws prohibit school officials from disclosing whether Asgari had been cited for any disciplinary actions or requested counseling before the shooting, Roddy said. He added that parents should pay attention if their children demonstrate signs of changing behavior, which could be a warning signal.

The female shooting victim has not been identified.

Both incidents are under investigation. Medical examiner officials haven't released an exact cause of death for Asgari.

Cassell said the shootings should remind gun owners to securely store their weapons and to instruct children to avoid touching any gun found inside the home.

"Compliancy can kill," he said. "When we have the awesome power of a firearm, we have to control it and protect everyone from an unwanted occurrence."

First lady Kathleen Sandoval said Nevadans must be made aware of government-backed counseling resources.

"I am extremely saddened to hear recent reports of youth suicide in our state and in our country," she said in a statement.

Copyright Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
 

 
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