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Shooting kills boy

| Monday, Jan. 23, 2006

A 12-year-old East Carnegie boy died Sunday of an accidental gunshot wound to the head after a gun he was playing with went off, police and medical examiners officials said.

Ronald Cox was pronounced dead shortly after midnight at Children's Hospital after an incident in the 100 block of Moffatt Way about 9 p.m. Saturday.

Cox apparently was playing with the gun with at least one other youth in an upstairs room of a house tucked away on a dead-end street of the small community, said Pittsburgh police Detective Steven Hitchings.

A friend of the boy's father lived in the house where Cox died, police said.

Residents of the house where Cox was shot declined comment.

"We're speechless" was all one youth coming out of the house would say.

Neighbors said they were shocked by the death of such a young boy.

"It's kind of tragic. A 12-year-old kid shouldn't have a gun in his hands in the first place," said Jack Onorato, a bounty hunter who lives several doors away.

Another neighbor, Bob Black, 57, said youths frequently hang out near the house where Cox died.

"We'd walk the dog late at night, around midnight, and they'd still be out," he said.

He said the youths didn't cause trouble but seemed kind of wild.

Black said many residents have lived on the street since before he moved there in 1978, but more newcomers have started arriving recently, including the family living in the house where Cox died.

"I don't think the kids even came around for Halloween. They just stayed to themselves," he said.

Onorato said the youths seemed nice enough but maybe could have used a little more supervision.

No charges have been filed. Hitchings said police were trying to trace the history of the weapon. The medical examiner's office would not release what type of weapon was involved.

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