Georgia teen charged in accidental shooting death of friend

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A 17-year-old is facing manslaughter charges in the accidental shooting death of a Georgia high school senior, who was shot in the head as the pals took turns shooting at bottles, police said.

Jeremy Matthew Gray was charged Friday in the death of Candace Chrzan, also 17, after she was struck while taking target practice with Gray and two other friends at a backyard in Mount Zion Tuesday.

“At some point, Candace did have possession of a .22 pistol that they were using for target practice,” Carroll County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Ashley Hulsey told reporters at a Friday news conference. “The gun jammed and she handed to [Gray] to clear the jam. As he was proceeding to do so, the gun did go off, it did strike Candance in the head and ultimately resulted in her death.”

Gray, who previously attended Mount Zion High School with Chrzan, tried to save his former classmate, but was unsuccessful. He was “visibly and physically shaken” after the shooting, Hulsey said.

Gray, of Mount Zion, was charged with felony involuntary manslaughter, reckless conduct and possession of a firearm of a person under the age of 18.

The gun that killed Chrzan, which the four teens were using to shoot plastic bottles in the backyard, belonged to Gray’s late grandfather, Hulsey said.

Meanwhile, another teen was arrested after threatening to kill Gray in a video posted on Snapchat.

The footage showed 18-year-old Samuel Blake Grier, of Bowdon, holding a gun, Hulsey said. He was charged with making terroristic threats.

Grier was not at Tuesday’s incident but has claimed to be Chrzan’s cousin, although that has not been confirmed, Hulsey said Monday.

Chrzan’s death should serve as a reminder that gun safety is “something we all should live by,” Carroll County Sheriff Terry Langley said in a statement read by Hulsey.

“Accidents happen and now two families’ lives have been changed forever and one is forever gone,” Langley said. “In times like this, we cannot let Candace’s life be taken from us without learning from this tragedy.”

A funeral for Chrzan will be held Wednesday at Mount Zion High School in Carrollton, where she was a member of the school’s marching and concert bands.

“Candace also loved to sing and took pride in listening to and appreciating many different genres of music,” according to her obituary. “In addition to being gifted in the arts, Candace was also athletic and enjoyed her time on the soccer field and learning martial arts.”

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