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Boy, 12, accidentally shoots himself dead with a gun brought by a friend to a sleepover in San Diego

Boy, 12, accidentally shoots himself dead with a gun brought by a friend to a sleepover in San Diego

  • Max Mendoza was hosting friends at his family home in the suburb of Chula Vista
  • On Saturday morning, his family heard a shot and ran to find him bleeding 
  • Mendoza, who was described as ‘charming and funny’, later died in hospital 
  • A 15-year-old boy brought the gun to the sleepover, according to police
  • Investigations into how he obtained the gun and who it belongs to are ongoing 
  • The boy was questioned and later released to his family


A 12-year-old boy has died after accidentally shooting himself at a sleepover with a gun brought by a friend.

Max Mendoza was hosting friends for a sleepover at his family home in the San Diego suburb of Chula Vista when the incident happened Saturday morning.

Police said a 15-year-old brought the gun to the sleepover, but how the boy obtained the weapon and who it belongs to is still under investigation, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. 

Investigators spoke with the teenager, who was later released to his family.

Family told the Union-Tribune that they heard a gunshot and ran to discover Mendoza bleeding.

He was carried outside and rushed to hospital, where he died.

The boy’s mother, Aida Mendoza, told the paper that she held him in her arms and told him she loved him as he said ‘Mom’ over and over.  

‘I miss him,’ she said on Sunday. ‘He had a great heart — and a big heart.’  

A 12-year-old boy has died after accidentally shooting himself at a sleepover with a gun brought by a friend. Max Mendoza (pictured) was hosting friends for a sleepover at his family home in the San Diego suburb of Chula Vista when the incident happened Saturday morning

Friends and family have set up a makeshift memorial for Mendoza outside the Woodland Hills condos where he lived. A message written on a nearby wall reads: ‘Long live Max’. 

Neighbors recalled to the Union-Tribune how the young boy would help them with groceries and look after his four sisters, teaching his younger sisters to ride a bike, skateboard and swim. 

‘He’s the smartest, handsomest, sweetest boy you could have ever met,’ neighbor Eliadora Foster told the paper on Sunday. 

‘He was the little man in the house, and he acted like the little man in the house.’ 

‘The whole neighborhood cried because he’s so special.’

‘It hurts that he’s gone. He was taken from us too soon.’

Police said a 15-year-old brought the gun to the sleepover at the Woodland Hills condos (pictured), but how the boy obtained the weapon and who it belongs to is still under investigation, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Police said a 15-year-old brought the gun to the sleepover at the Woodland Hills condos (pictured), but how the boy obtained the weapon and who it belongs to is still under investigation, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

‘Even though he was only 12, you would talk to him and you would feel like you were talking to someone your age,’ his 16-year-old sister, Macy Mendoza, told the Fox News 5. 

‘He was so mature for his age. He was so wise beyond his years.’ 

She told KFMB that her brother’s death was ‘surreal’: ‘Who goes home and thinks their 12-year-old brother is gone?

‘He’s only 12. He had so much to live for. He still had his whole life ahead of him.’ 

A GoFundMe page set up by Mendoza’s mother to cover his funeral expenses described him as ‘a truly special guy’.

‘He was charming and funny. He had a heart twice the size of the average kid. He was always willing to share whatever little he had with his classmates even if they weren’t his closest friends,’ the page read.

As of Thursday morning, the page had raised $9,995 USD of its $25,000 goal.      

 

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. 

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