Friday, April 05, 2002

A shot fired, an 11-year-old is dead

911 call recounts boy's death

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ROSS TOWNSHIP — A .410 shotgun fired. The pellets struck Travis Payne, 11, in the chest, right over his heart.

        “Is he alive?” a Butler County dispatcher asks, responding to a 911 call.

Travis Payne
Travis Payne
        “Yes, but I don't know how much,” a male caller replies. “I couldn't believe they was playing with a shotgun. ... Come as fast as you can, 'cause he's bleeding everywhere.”

        During the five-minute call, Travis' life signs faded.

        “They say he's dead,” the man reported grimly. Bystanders screamed, wailed and pleaded for help.

        But there was nothing anyone could do.

        “You can't have a tragedy of an 11-year-old boy dying like this and not have it affect everyone who comes in contact with it,” Butler County Sheriff's Lt. Mike Craft said Thursday.

        “The trickle-down effect hits everyone they go to school with, law enforcement on the scene, the medical personnel on the scene, the dispatchers that handled the call ... so many people.”

        Another 11-year-old, a longtime friend of Travis, was holding the gun when it fired just before 7:20 p.m. Wednesday. Police say initial signs point to an accidental shooting. As of Thursday afternoon, no charges had been filed.

        The shooting occurred at the home of Travis' friend in the 1200 block of Millville-Shandon Road. Deputies found Travis lying on a bedroom floor; they also found the gun, which reportedly belonged to Travis' friend, Lt. Craft said.

        Travis, a sixth-grader at Ross Middle School, lived in Morgan Township, where he played football and basketball through the Morgan-Ross Athletic Association.

        Superintendent David McWilliams said staff members at the middle school were notified of Travis' death Thursday. Counselors will be available for students and staff members all day Monday when students return from spring break.

        Sue Kiesewetter contributed to this report.


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