A 17-year-old boy has been charged with criminal negligence causing death after a 13-year-old boy died in Winnipeg last week.
Cody Shuya, 13, was found Feb. 23 in the backyard of a residence on Home Street, in the city's West End neighbourhood. He later died in hospital.
Police revealed on the weekend that Shuya had been shot with a pellet gun, which they allege the boy stole from a home in the area with a 17-year-old boy.
The two teens were passing the weapon between them when it went off, hitting Shuya in the upper body, police said Saturday.
"Unfortunately, it struck the victim in an area that caused an injury that resulted in death," said police spokeswoman Const. Jacqueline Chaput. "Pellet guns can be as dangerous as a regular firearm."
The 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named under the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, has been charged with negligence causing death and break and enter. A warrant for breach of probation was also executed, police said.
Charge should be more serious: grandmother
"We're all pleased that there was an arrest, and we're happy that the police worked hard on it," Shelly Grant, Shuya's grandmother, told CBC News.
However, the charges laid against the boy should have been more serious, Grant said.
"He should be charged with something more than negligence," she said.
"It won't be long before he's out and he's walking around and he's laughing and he's joking and living his life, and Cody isn't. Cody's in the ground, cold and alone, and he shouldn't be there," she said.
"It makes no sense that he should be allowed to enjoy life … no, it's not fair. He should be charged with something more than negligence."
The teen is being held at the Manitoba Youth Centre, and is expected to appear in court Monday.
Pellet guns being used more often in crimes: police
The type of weapon involved in the case is relatively easy to obtain and police are seeing it used more often in the commission of crimes, officials said.
"We are encountering them more often," said Chaput. "They will have it to generally imitate a weapon and present that threat to a clerk if they're trying to rob an establishment."
Terry Robinson, general manager of SIR Warehouse, a Winnipeg sporting-goods store that sells about 50 models of pellet guns, air pistols and air rifles, said he has been selling more of the weapons lately.
"A lot of the junior rifle programs that used to shoot .22 [calibre rifles] are now converting to using air rifles," he said.
Low-power pellet guns can be sold freely to anyone over the age of 18, Robinson said, though it's more difficult to buy a high-powered air rifle.
"Some of the high-powered ones are about the same velocity as a .22-calibre rifle," he said.
Chaput could not say exactly what type of weapon was involved in Shuya's death.
A 2005 report from the Canadian Pediatric Society cited 11 deaths from pellet guns, including 10 deaths after a person was shot in the eye or temple.