11-Year-old Pinal County boy dies from gunshot

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. (AP) -- Pinal County authorities say the fatal shooting of an 11-year-old boy in San Tan Valley apparently was a suicide.

Sheriff's officials say Samuel Epps's father found his fatally wounded son in their home's master bedroom after family members heard a gunshot Tuesday night.

"A gunshot was heard in the house and the father rushed to the bedroom. The door was locked, made forced entry into the bedroom," said Sheriff Paul Babeu with the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.

They say the boy earlier had become upset after the father asked him to complete some chores.

It's unclear how he got the handgun.

"This child had from our understanding no intention to play with the weapon but to harm himself," said Sheriff Babeu.

Authorities say the boy's father works for the Arizona State University Police Department. They say the gun the boy used was not his father's service weapon, however.

Sheriff's officials say the boy suffered a self-inflicted gunshot injury to the head and was breathing when responders arrived. He later died at a Phoenix hospital.

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SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. -- An 11-year-old San Tan Valley boy is dead after shooting himself in the head.

The Pinal County Sheriff's Office identified the boy as Samuel Epps.

It happened just before 7 p.m. Tuesday at the boy's home in the area of Bella Vista Road and Hunt Highway in the Johnson Ranch neighborhood of San Tan Valley.

Samuel's father and three siblings were home with him at the time. His mother was not there.

"Initial information indicates that Samuel had been asked to complete some chores and he became upset," Pinal County Sheriff's Office spokesman Tim Gaffney said in a news release Wednesday morning. "Samuel went into the home's master bedroom and a short time later a single gunshot was heard by other family members."

Samuel's father rushed to the room to find the door locked. He forced his way in and discovered his son had shot himself.

Gaffney said Samuel was still breathing when deputies and paramedics arrived minutes after Samuel's dad called 911.

Samuel was airlifted to Maricopa County Medical Center. Doctors pronounced him dead about two hours later.

Samuel was a student at Benjamin Franklin Charter School, which has three K-6 campuses.