A 16-year-old boy taken for an intruder and fatally shot inside a neighbor’s home had accidentally entered the wrong house, the boy’s father said Monday.
A homeowner shot Caleb A. Gordley, a junior at Park View High School in Sterling, Va., after going to investigate why an alarm had been activated in the home early Sunday and encountering the teenager on an interior stairwell, according to the Loudoun County sheriff’s office.
“Let it be known that Caleb ‘accidentally’ entered the wrong house after a party last night,” the boy’s father, Shawn Gordley, wrote on his Twitter account.
Mr. Gordley didn’t respond to a message, but he confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday that the account was his and that he written the tweets sent from it.
He later added via Twitter that he was told that “Caleb & his friend hopped the fence into the wrong backyard. They both thought it was my house.”
The houses in the 45900 block of Pullman Court in Sterling look similar, and the Gordleys’ home is just two doors down from the home where he was shot.
Sheriff’s officials said they think Caleb had been drinking with friends earlier in the evening and the agency was investigating whether alcohol played a part in the teenager’s decision to enter his neighbor’s home. A rear window to the home was found open, and police suspect that was how Caleb entered the house.
The shooting occurred after the homeowner called 911 to report that the house alarm had been activated at about 2:30 a.m., sheriff’s officials said. The sheriff’s office did not provide details about the interaction that occurred between the two prior to the shooting.
The name of the homeowner was not released, and no charges have been filed. Officials could not confirm Monday whether the gun used was legally owned.
By Sunday night, word of the teen’s death had spread through the school community, and students organized through social media to wear black clothing to mourn his death Monday, Loudoun County schools spokesman Wayde Byard said.
“Most of the student body is wearing black,” Mr. Byard said, adding that most people seemed stunned by the news. “There’s not a lot of words here today.”
“He was a very free spirited student, very popular, very gregarious,” Mr. Byard said.
Grief counselors were at Park View on Monday to assist and students participated in a moment of silence.
“He was absolutely a great student-athlete. Extremely enthusiastic,” basketball coach Mike Koscinski told the AP. “Everyone’s just devastated.”