- Associated Press - Thursday, June 30, 2016

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Two teenagers have been charged in a 13-year-old boy’s death after he was fatally shot in the face after the group found the gun and were playing with it in the backyard of a Philadelphia home, authorities said Thursday.

A 15-year-old surrendered to police after the Wednesday shooting and was charged with involuntary manslaughter; police say he pointed the gun at the younger boy’s head and fired the weapon. The boy died at a hospital later that evening.

A 17-year-old was charged with recklessly endangering another person after loading and playing with the gun, Cameron Kline, a spokesman for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office said.

The two were charged in juvenile court and authorities have not named them or the victim.

Police said they recovered the gun, which a group of juveniles had been playing with after finding it in a vacant house in the city’s East Germantown neighborhood.

Fourteen-year-old Chris Reed told The Philadelphia Inquirer he was with the group of kids and saw his friend, Chris Mackey, get shot. Reed said the group had assembled the revolver they’d found when the 15-year-old took the gun and pointed it at some of the others gathered around. The kids thought the gun was jammed but it fired after the teen pointed it toward Mackey’s head.

“My heart stopped and I froze for a couple of seconds,” Reed told the newspaper.

Mackey fell to the ground bleeding and the kids scattered in fear, Reed said.

Reed ran to his mother, who called the police.

The boy’s death came a week after a 4-year-old girl died after she apparently shot herself at her North Philadelphia home. The girl’s mother faces charges including third-degree murder and endangering the welfare of a child. Police also accuse her of trying to cover up how the child died in the June 23 shooting, though they say it does appear from the gunshot wound to the girl’s right eye that the child was holding the gun when it fired.

City shootings involving children are not uncommon as guns continue to float around neighborhoods, said Colwin Williams, an outreach worker with violence intervention group Philadelphia CeaseFire.

“There are guns out here like you can get a pack of cigarettes,” Williams said.

Philadelphia CeaseFire planned a vigil for Thursday evening. Williams said the vigil will memorialize the boy and open up dialogue about gun violence and young people’s tendencies to mimic what they see from adults in their neighborhoods.

“A lot of these children are watching (adults) and emulating them, but are not realizing the magnitude of the firearm,” he said.

Williams said he spoke with one of the boy’s relatives after the shooting.

“This baby didn’t even have a chance to start the dream yet. Summertime’s just starting and he should be having fun at the pool or the playground,” Williams said. “It’s really getting crazy out here.”

Police have not said whether any adults were at the residence when the 13-year-old was shot.

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