The parents of a Sterling, Va. teenager who was shot to death as an apparent intruder "forgive" the neighbor who pulled the trigger.
16-year-old Caleb Gordley had slipped out of his own home Saturday night to attend a party where he consumed alcohol, according to his father. When the teen returned to his neighborhood after 2 a.m. Sunday, he apparently mistakenly climbed into the back window of a neighbor's house.
The house he went into was two doors away from his own home; a resident there shot and killed the youth, apparently as the teen kept climbing the stairs toward the second floor, even after being challenged.
"He thought it was his own father yelling at him," Shawn Gordley has surmised. Shawn is Caleb's father. "And he kept going (up the stairs.) He kept walking toward (what he thought was) his room, because the houses are identical. And then you know the rest."
Caleb's parents regard the death of their popular 16-year-old son as a tragic accident.
"I don't even blame the gentleman [who fired the shot]," said Jennea Gordley, Caleb's mom, to a bank of television cameras and radio microphones Tuesday. "So, if he's watching, if he's going to ever see any of this, I just want you to know sir that I forgive you. I understand that this was an accident."
In an earlier radio interview, Shawn Gordley said he has no firearms in his home because of the possibility of accidental shootings. But the teen's family does not want Caleb's death used as an argument in the ongoing debate about gun control.
"Everybody's following the story -- gun rights, gun control, politics," said Shawn Gordley. "Our family as a whole ... we don't want to be involved in that."
The Gordleys have sent their daughter back to classes at Park View High School to give her some sense of normalcy. They are now making funeral preparations for their late son.
At the late morning meeting with reporters, the Gordleys criticized the Sheriff's Office in Loudoun County for failing to fully brief them with details of their son's death. Within a few hours, Sheriff Michael Chapman paid the family a visit.
Sheriff Chapman spoke about the case for the first time Tuesday. He says if the medical examiner confirms Caleb had been drinking before entering his neighbor's home. They will investigate how it happened, and where he got the alcohol.
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