A 12-year-old boy has been killed by a gunshot to the chest while in his tent at a Scout camp in the US, police said.
Emergency services were called to the Fiesta Island camp in San Diego just after 7.30am on Monday morning and arrived to find the boy in his tent with a handgun nearby.
Officials said paramedics attempted to resuscitate him but were unable to do so, pronouncing him dead at the scene.
San Diego police Lieutenant Mike Hastings told reporters yesterday afternoon that while a 911 call had described a boy shooting himself in the head, initial investigations showed that the victim was shot at least once to the upper torso.
Investigators said that they would not be able to determine if the shooting was self-inflicted until a post-mortem had been carried out.
NBC San Diego reported that while officials refused to comment on whether the boy had been alone in the tent at the time of the incident, they said there were no witnesses.
The boy was part of a 20-strong Scout troop from Las Vegas that arrived in San Diego on Sunday. Police said the victim’s father had been one of the chaperones taking charge of the week-long camp, and that he was now being interviewed by officers.
San Diego Six News reported that other parents arrived throughout Monday, some to take their children home. But despite obvious safety concerns, leaders said the camp will continue as planned.
Lt Hastings said that part of the investigation would now turn to how the gun came to be in the boy’s tent. None of the planned activities at the summer camp were to involve firearms, and parents are strictly banned from taking their own guns onto Boy Scout sites.
A statement issued by Boy Scouts of America read: “This is an extremely sad day for our entire Scouting family. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and all those who experienced this tragedy.”
The organisation said counsellors had been sent to Fiesta Island to help with those who decide to stay on at the camp, adding: “Our top priority is providing support to our community and for those in the grieving process.”