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Teen dies after being shot by friend in apparent accidental shooting in Guilford County

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WHITSETT, N.C. -- A 15-year-old was shot and killed Sunday by his 15-year-old friend in what Guilford County sheriff’s investigators said they believe was an accidental shooting.

The two boys were at a mobile home on Thacker Dairy Road at about 10 a.m. when the teenager was shot in the upper chest by his companion, according to Sgt. T.P. Popek. Investigators say the gun belongs to a relative.

The wounded teenager was taken to Moses Cone Hospital where he later died. The identity of the victim has not been released.

The two had been playing with a 12-gauge shotgun, according to the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office. Col. Randy Powers said no charges have been filed yet. He said the teenagers did not know shotgun was loaded.

Officials say accidental shootings can be prevented by properly securing firearms.

“We would recommend a safe. Lock it up completely, so it keeps [firearms] out of curious hands. But if you can't afford a safe or don't have a safe, then spending just a few dollars on a trigger lock will keep your child from having an accident,” said training sergeant and range master Larry Gritton.

Gritton says cable locks can also prevent guns from accidentally firing.

“If you have guns in your house, your children are going to be curious. At some point, you have to sit down with them and explain the dangers of them. If you see one without mom and dad present, don't touch it. Get an adult and let them know the gun is out in the open,” said Gritton.

When asked about the shooting, a Guilford County Schools spokesperson said counselors were available to students at Southeast Guilford High School Monday.