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Parents of slain Virginia teen forgive neighbor for shooting

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   March 20, 2013 at 9:55 AM   |   Comments

March 20 (UPI) -- The parents of 16-year-old Virginia teen Caleb Gordley, who was killed Saturday when he drunkenly entered the wrong house, said Tuesday they forgive the neighbor who shot their son.

"I want you to know sir, I forgive you," said Jennea Gordley, Caleb's mom, speaking through reporters to the volunteer Loudoun County firefighter who shot the teen, believing he was an intruder. "I understand this was an accident. I truly believe everything happens for a reason. My son, he's an angel."

According to Caleb's father, Shawn Gordley, the 16-year-old Parkview High School student sneaked out of the house to Saturday night to party with friends. He later walked home and jumped the fence that runs behind his own home -- and his neighbor's -- and climbed through an unlocked window of the neighbor's house.

When Caleb Gordley began to walk up the stairs of the neighbor's house, believing himself to be heading toward his own bedroom, the neighbor shot him.

"Whether he gave a warning shot or yelled at him, I'm pretty sure Caleb thought it was me yelling at him," Shawn Gordley said. "He kept walking toward what he thought was his room because the houses are identical."

The Gordleys were critical of Loudoun County Sheriffs, who they say have been less than forthcoming through the investigation and prohibited them from seeing the body of their son until Tuesday, after they spoke with the media.

"I feel like I was robbed of the opportunity of even identifying his body," said Jennea Gordley, who lives in Dayton, Ohio and traveled to Sterling after learning of Caleb's death.

Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman said the department had been cautious in releasing information as the investigation was ongoing, but promised a review to see if it could have been handled better.

Caleb Gordley was an aspiring rap artist and played three sports at Parkview High.

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