Everything was quiet and still on the snow-dusted streets near Kalles Junior High in Puyallup on Friday morning.
Residents say the silence is normal, but it was abruptly broken when 13-year-old Eddie Holmes was fatally shot Thursday afternoon in what neighbors and others are calling a tragic accident.
Holmes was hanging out after school with four other boys at a friend’s house in the 500 block of 11th Street Southeast. All but one of the boys attend Kalles.
Puyallup police say the 13-year-old boy who lives at the home took an unsecured shotgun from the master bedroom to show to the others, gave the gun to one of them, and shortly thereafter Holmes was shot.
Police are investigating the incident as an unintentional shooting.
Holmes’ family released a statement through the Puyallup Police Department on Friday, expressing grief over their loss and gratitude to those who have shown support following the accident.
“Eddie was a wonderful son — very loving and caring,” the statement says. “He enjoyed being with his big brother Jose, his dog Buddy, and playing video games. Our prayers are with the families that are also involved.”
The statement also urged lawmakers to pass gun legislation.
Near the scene of the shooting, many neighbors said members of the family that lives in the house keep to themselves. They say they are very nice but rarely seen outside.
Robin Harrigan, a next-door neighbor, said she doesn’t know the family’s last name. Their son, who police say brought out the shotgun, would play with Harrigan’s grandson on occasion.
“He’ a nice boy,” she said Friday. “I feel so bad that this happened.”
Harrigan said she can’t recall a tragedy like Thursday’s shooting on the short dead-end street, a few blocks from Kalles, where Holmes attended seventh grade.
She said many residents have lived there for years.
“It’s kind of like a grandparents road,” she said. “It’s a quiet street.”
Puyallup School District spokesman Brian Fox said Kalles brought in four additional counselors Friday to supplement the three they already have to help students, parents and staff with the grieving process.
Fox said those resources could be available again next week if needed.
A letter was also sent home to parents informing them of the incident.
“As a school community, we are shocked by this tragedy and struggling through this difficult time together,” Kalles Principal Guy Kovacs wrote. “We are taking several steps to assist and support our students as we all work through this.”
Puyallup Police spokesman Scott Engle said the incident has reminded the community how precious it is to spend time with those you love, and that talking to kids about firearms is vital.
He said parents should properly store weapons and educate their children on safe handling practices.
“This is a very, very traumatic tragedy for all the families involved,” Engle said. “There’s a lot to be learned here.”