EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — The Luzerne County District Attorney and Wilkes-Barre police say the investigation into the deadly shooting of a 13-year-old boy is moving forward.
His death has been ruled a homicide, and is the most recent violent incident in our region involving young people, mainly teenagers, and guns.
It’s not only an issue in northeastern Pennsylvania, it’s being seen across the country. So what’s going on?
28/22 News I-Team Reporter Andy Mehalshick spoke with law enforcement officials and mental health experts. They say there are many factors that contribute to these incidents involving teens and guns. They do say education can be a major factor in preventing many of these types of violent situations.
Police converged on the Boulevard Townhomes in Wilkes-Barre Monday afternoon, a 13-year-old male was shot in the head and died at the scene, another juvenile was arrested and is awaiting further court actions.
In July, in Nanticoke, a 14-year-old boy was wounded in a drive-by shooting and two other teens were charged in connection with the incident.
In March in Williamsport, two teens were arrested in connection with shots fired at a house.
“There are so many factors today that intersect the mind of an adolescent or of a teen that weren’t there a decade or two ago,” said Wyoming County District Attorney Joe Peters.
District Attorney Peters says those factors include the internet, video games, and what he believes is the glamorization of violence.
“One of them is a sense of invincibility because basically people see things online, out there, and there’s really no consequence for shooting. In fact, there are games when you shoot and kill people you get up and start over again. So that numbs the mind to the sensitivity to the dangers of this weapon,” DA Peters explained.
Psychiatrist Doctor Matthew Berger agrees.
“I think number one adolescents don’t have a sense of permanence in the sense they feel on some level they’re kind of immortal. When you’re 15, you don’t understand that death is final,” said Doctor Berger.
Dr. Berger and DA Peters say parents play a major role in heading off potential problems.
“I think you need to sit down with your child and have that conversation. ‘Hey, a weapon is a tool it has to be used with respect and use it appropriately,'” Doctor Berger explained.
“We always talk to parents about speaking to your kids about drugs and one pill can kill. The same goes here. Speak to your children about guns and have gun ownership, be responsible and well-trained ownership,” DA Peters said.
Doctor Berger and DA Peters say this is not a gun rights issue, it’s a gun safety education issue.