Following Monday's tragic accident in Hockley County, local law enforcement is encouraging families to speak with their children about gun safety. 10-year-old Chance Lightner died after his 11-year-old brother accidentally shot him in the side. Investigators say the boys found the gun in their older brother's room.
Chance was a third grader at Smyer Elementary. Hockley County authorities brought the message of safety to his classmates.
"I talked to both of the third grade teachers, and the kids are doing better," Smyer ISD Superintendent Dane Kerns said.
A day after Smyer Elementary learned they had lost one of their own, fellow students left good-bye messages for Lightner. "It's pretty moving to read some of the things those kids have said," Kerns said.
On Monday, they didn't know what exactly happened. That's why Kerns says they were lucky to have Hockley County's Chief Deputy come in and speak to students. "He visited with both the kids in the third grade, where Chance was a student, and the fourth grade, where his brother was a student. He put it on the line, told them exactly what occurred, and that it was clearly an accident, and he emphasized the fact that gun safety is very important to kids of all ages, and I think it sank in to those kids," Kerns said.
"The most important thing we tell kids is, if you see a gun, don't touch it," Lubbock Police Corporal Mark Long said.
Lubbock Police say locks play a big role in gun safety. "A gun lock basically makes your gun inoperable," Long said.
Corporal Long showed us how easy they are to use, but he says locks are not the only safeguard parents can provide. "They do need to show their child what it is, and not to play with it, and explain to them how dangerous it is," Long said.
It's a message made evident to students in Smyer by the writing's on the wall.
"There are still some kids that have had to talk to the counselor we had on duty today, and are still dealing with some of their issues and the grief, but it's nothing like it was yesterday. Yesterday was a very tough day," Kerns said.
Superintendent Kerns tells us they plan to have counselors available for the rest of the week.
Free gun locks are available at the Lubbock Police Department, and other area offices.
The Lightner family has set-up a memorial fund to help with funeral expenses. You can donate at any branch of City Bank.