A Cincinnati father accidentally shot and killed his 14-year-old son after he investigated what he thought was a burglary in his home Tuesday, police said.
The fatal shooting happened at around 6:30 a.m., NBC affiliate WLET reported. The 14-year-old, identified police as Georta Mack, was rushed to Children's Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The boy had left for school but quickly returned, unbeknownst to his father. The father grabbed a handgun after he heard a noise in the basement, and the gun fired when he was startled, police told the station.
"These types of tragedies are so horrific, they're even unimaginable," Police Chief Eliot Isaac told reporters.
A friend of the teen said "he always kept a smile, that's what he was known for," and that the boy and his father were close.
"They had a really close bond. His dad would do anything for him," Courizma Williams, who knew Georta, told the station. "His dad always wanted to keep him out of the streets, keep him from being bad — you know, keep him safe."
The name of the father has not been released. Prosecutors will decide whether charges are warranted in the case, the WLWT reported.
Isaac said that if people are going to keep firearms in their homes, they should get training to use them.
Fifty children between the ages of infant to 14 years old died of what were classified as unintentional firearm causes in 2014, according to the federal Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. 2014 was the latest year for which data was available.
Some claim federal numbers undercount accidental shooting deaths.
The gun-control group Everytown to End Gun Violence in 2014 said it analyzed publicly reported gun deaths from December 2012 to December 2013 and claimed at least 100 children were killed in unintentional shootings during that period. Federal data has that number at 69.
In Florida, a mother fatally shot her 27-year-old daughter in St. Cloud on Dec. 30 after mistaking her for an intruder, NBC Miami reported.