Prop-gun blamed in Utah student's death

Nov. 17, 2008 at 12:21 PM
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ST. GEORGE, Utah, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- A 15-year-old student was killed in St. George, Utah, after a prop pistol being used in a stage production discharged, police say.

St. George Police Sgt. James Van Fleet said Desert Hills High School student Tucker Thayer died while preparing props for a school presentation of the musical "Oklahoma!," The Salt Lake Tribune said Sunday.

Van Fleet said an investigation into Saturday's fatal incident was under way and police said they have yet to rule out the possibility that the shooting was intentional.

The police sergeant questioned why all of the prop guns being used in the state production hadn't remained under lock and key as initially planned.

"Why was a 15-year-old handling a gun with no supervision?" Van Fleet said.

Tucker's father, Ron Thayer, told the Tribune his son accidentally forced the St. George school to be shutdown on Oct. 10 due to another prop gun incident. Thayer said the teenager had been repairing a prop rifle at home and was mistaken for a possible gunman while attempting to return the firearm to the school.

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