CROOKED OAK — A 10th-grader at Colbert Heights High School is in critical condition after being shot in the head when a prank among friends went bad early Saturday.
Jesse Rainey, 15, was in the intensive care unit at UAB Children’s Hospital on Saturday night.
He was flown there shortly after being shot about 3:30 a.m. at a house at 5985 Jones Road, which is in the Crooked Oak community south of Tuscumbia.
“We’ve found no indication that this was planned by anyone,” Sheriff Ronnie May said.
“We believe this was a prank that went terribly wrong. We continue to pray for Jesse and his family. We hope he is able to return to his family soon. We will continue checking on him and pray for the best.”
No charges have been filed.
May said Rainey, who lives at 1550 Emmitt Holland Road, Tuscumbia, was one of eight boys who planned to spend the weekend at the house in Crooked Oak, which belonged to one of teen’s parents. May said the close friends are all either 15 or 16 years old. They often spend time together on camping trips and at other houses.
A few members of the group walked outside at one point and decided to make the others think an intruder had entered the house. During the process, Rainey, who was in on the prank, was shot with a .38-caliber handgun, May said.
After calling 911, the boys put Rainey in the bed of a pickup and met sheriff’s deputies and medical personnel at Midway Package Store. Rainey was rushed to Helen Keller Hospital in Sheffield, where he was stabilized and then flown to the Birmingham hospital.
May said no adults were at the house at the time of the shooting. He said there was no evidence of alcohol or drugs at the house or that any of the boys were under the influence.
May said, as part of the prank, one of the boys went to the breaker box at the house and cut off the electricity and the others tried to scare their friends by playing up the hoax that an intruder was there.
When one of the boys went to the area of the breaker box to check it, a door was opened and Rainey reportedly was shot.
The boy, who is 16, had a .38-caliber handgun and fired it, striking Rainey in the head, authorities said.
May said deputies found numerous guns at the house, including handguns, rifles and shotguns.
“Everyone has been very cooperative with us,” May said. “They have been lifelong friends in most cases. All the guys were extremely distraught about what happened; some of them were even unable to stand up at the scene last night.
“It’s just a terrible thing for everyone. It’s a parent’s nightmare to say the least. Our thoughts are with them and Jesse.”
May said investigators will present the results of their investigation to the district attorney’s office.