PCSO Maxx Bonnell.jpg

Bonnell

RED ROCK — A 15-year-old boy has been charged with manslaughter after a shooting killed a 16-year-old friend during a sleepover at a Pinal County home.

According to Pinal County Superior Court records, Maxx Bonnell, 15, is charged in adult court with manslaughter and aggravated assault.

According to court records, around 11:45 p.m. on Sept. 26, Pinal County Sheriff’s deputies were called out to a home on Volunteer Drive in Red Rock for shots fired. The caller told dispatch that one of her son’s friends had been accidentally shot and she was in possession of the gun.

When deputies arrived, they found emergency medical crews working on a male teenager with a gunshot wound lying on the floor. One of the medical technicians told the deputy the firearm was on a kitchen counter. The deputy found a handgun on the counter and took possession of the weapon.

The family of the injured teen was contacted and told he was being flown to Banner-University Medical Center Tucson. The teen died four days later.

A woman at the scene told the deputy that all of the teens in the home were in a back bedroom. A deputy escorted her back to the same room and a PCSO Posse member stayed with the group until they could be interviewed.

Bonnell was one of five teens in the room. He was separated from the group and placed in a patrol vehicle when deputies determined that he might be the person who fired the weapon. His mother was contacted, advised of the situation and asked to come to the home.

According to court records, the woman at the home later told deputies that her son wanted to have a few friends over to spend the night. She told him that was OK and went out to eat with one of her other sons.

When she returned, her son and his friends were in the living room and kitchen area. She got up from the kitchen table and walked into her bedroom and heard a loud bang. She left the bedroom and came back into the living room, where she asked what the noise was.

She told deputies she saw Bonnell holding a handgun and standing next to the couch where one of the teens had been sitting.

She said Bonnell allegedly told her, “I shot him. I didn’t think it was loaded.”

She told deputies that she took the gun from Bonnell, set it on the kitchen counter and called 911. She tried to help the injured teen by following directions from the 911 dispatcher until an ambulance arrived.

The woman told deputies that both the teen that was killed and Bonnell had been over to her house frequently in the past and that she did not see the gun and did not know that anyone had a gun in the home prior to the shooting.

Deputies also interviewed Bonnell with his mother present. Bonnell told deputies that he had found the gun in the desert earlier in the day when he went home to get some clothes to stay over at his friend’s house.

According to court records, Bonnell told deputies that when he found the gun he pulled the clip out and pulled the slide back to see if it was loaded. He told deputies that he saw the clip had a full load of rounds and he didn’t remember cocking the weapon.

Bonnell told deputies that he intended to keep the weapon. He also said everyone in the home, except two younger children, knew he had the gun. He told deputies that two of the other teens at the home had allegedly held the gun and looked at it.

According to court records, Bonnell told deputies he was trying to scare his friend when he pointed the gun at the teen and the gun went off. He told deputies again that he didn’t know the weapon was cocked and he didn’t intend to shoot his friend.

Deputies also spoke with the four other teens who were in the room when the shooting happened.

One teen told deputies Bonnell had shown him the gun and he thought it was a BB gun. He said Bonnell got up from the kitchen table where the two were sitting and told him he was going to scare one of the other teens. He saw Bonnell point the gun at the teen and then heard a bang. He said Bonnell started “freaking out” after the shooting.

Another teen said he was playing video games in the living room when the shooting happened. He told deputies that Bonnell had brought the gun to the home in the past. He didn’t know if the gun was real or not. While he was playing video games, he heard a loud bang and saw Bonnell pointing the gun at the teen who was shot.

Another teen told deputies that he was sitting at the kitchen table when he heard a loud bang. He also knew Bonnell had the gun in the home.

According to court records, deputies later received information that Bonnell may have pointed the gun at a different friend, at a different location, several days prior to the shooting. Deputies interviewed the teen who was involved in that situation with his father sitting nearby.

That teen told deputies that two weeks prior to the shooting, he had been hanging out with Bonnell and other friends at the local pool. When the group decided to leave the area, the teen gave them all a ride in his father’s car. While the teen was driving, he said he heard Bonnell “rack” the slide on the gun from the back seat and turned to see Bonnell pointing the weapon at him. He said Bonnell told him he was joking and lowered the weapon.

The teen told deputies that he did not know that Bonnell had a gun. He dropped Bonnell off at his home and had not talked to him since. Another friend later told the teen that Bonnell had had the gun for at least a year and had bought it from someone.

According to court records, deputies later found that the handgun used in the shooting had been reported stolen out of Tucson.

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Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa is a reporter covering the city of Casa Grande and the surrounding area, as well as Central Arizona College. She can be reached at sadams@pinalcentral.com.

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