Classmates Mourn Student’s Death

By: Sabrina Zimring
By: Sabrina Zimring

Grief counselors are working with Austin's classmates, helping them come to terms with his sudden death. Students spent the morning drawing pictures, signing cards, and telling stories of happy memories with Austin.

Austin's 16 classmates crowded around a table, signing cards and making posters in his memory. Austin's friends say he loved to draw. They pasted his sketches on their posters.

"He was a really great kid. He was a quiet kid, just full of life, loved the outdoors just like I do, and so many of us out here do."

A father-son hunting trip turned tragic Sunday morning when 13-year-old Austin Richardson was accidentally shot in the shoulder by a 10-year-old friend he was hunting with.

Paramedics rushed Austin to Gulf Coast Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. Guidance counselors are helping classmates and faculty cope with Bozeman's first student death.

"I have spent the majority of my morning in his primary classroom and working with the students. They’re making cards and signing posters, and we've shared stories. Austin loved to draw. They went through his sketch books and got pictures out Austin has drawn."

Florida Fish and Wildlife officials say accidents like this do happen, but taking a hunter’s safety course can help prevent them.

"If you ever want to lower the odds of being in a hunting accident, take the course and take your young ones through it as well"

The safety course is only required for children over the age of 16. Officials have confirmed neither boy has taken the course. Officers are still investigating the accident, but say they haven't found any violations.

Both boys sported hunter orange and both of their fathers were licensed to hunt. Despite the tragedy, Fish and Wildlife officials say hunting fatalities are actually down statewide.

During last year's hunting season there was only one firearm death and eight accidental shootings. That one death happened in the Apalachicola National Forest.

Friends and family members have set up an account to help the Richardson family pay for expenses associated with Austin's death. If you'd like to help out, just drop by any AmSouth Bank branch and ask to contribute to the Austin Richardson Fund.


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