Suburban Teen Killed In ‘Tragic Accident’ On Hunting Trip

OGLE COUNTY, Ill. (STMW) – A northwest suburban teenager was killed early Wednesday in a “tragic accident” when his friend accidentally shot him on a hunting trip in western Illinois.

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Michael DiGiovanni, 17, of Bartlett, was pronounced dead at 1:17 a.m. Wednesday at Freeport Memorial Hospital, Stephenson County Coroner Tom Leamon said.

DiGiovanni was on a hunting trip with three Bartlett boys — ages 14, 17 and 18 — when he was shot about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday on Townline Road east of Mile Road — about 2.5 miles southeast of Forreston, according to an Ogle County Sheriff’s office release.

The teens had permission to hunt on the property, and hunted in the morning then went to breakfast in Byron, the release said. They returned to hunt squirrels and eventually came out of the woods and started a campfire.

While around the campfire, the 14-year-old saw a squirrel in the distance and got his shotgun, but realized the muzzle was accidentally pointing a DiGiovanni, who was lying on the ground, the release said.

As the shooter moved to point the gun away from him, it accidentally discharged and the pellets struck the teen in the back, the release said.

A Friday autopsy determined DiGiovanni suffered a massive hemorrhage to the right side of his chest from a single shotgun wound, Leamon said.

“We’re looking at everything being accidental,” Leamon said.

The Ogle County State’s Attorney’s office is investigation although no hunting regulation violations have been discovered, the release said.

Both the 14-year-old and DiGiovanni had valid Firearm Owners Identification Cards, the release said.

The sheriff’s office said the incident appears to have been a “tragic accident involving two friends.”

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

  • Roberta Waker

    Why wasn’t there an ADULT hunting with them??? No way should teenagers hunt alone or without a respoisible adult. This is tragic, but could have been avoided if an adult had been present. Parents letting a 14 year old go with two other teenagers are irresponsible, I don’t care if they had FOID cards or not.

  • People with Guns kill and DIE

    NRA: are you proud of yourself?

    • chicagomom

      I am not a fan of gos nor the NRA. But its not their fault. Its the parents, pure and simple, 14? for gods sake, they can’t even wipe their butts. Condolences for all involved, it was an accident that the parents of all could have avoided.

    • Mel Cragwell

      NRA is NOT responsible for this unfortunate accident, u imp! Inadequate supervision is the root cause, u imp. People hunt every day and come out alive because they take all of the necessary precautions, u imp. If there are those that are under age handling loaded weapons, there MUST be an adult present at all times and monitoring all activity to ensure that something like this does not happen, u imp! Get a life, u imp!

    • Roberta Waker

      The NRA had nothing to do with this accident. They push for gun safety and training. Unfortunately you can get a FOID card under the age of 21 if your parents sign for it. Wonder how the parents are feeling about that now?

    • reuben truscott

      i agree- these children were licensed gun owners but aren’t old enough to legally drink or vote? How many of your children need to be injured or killed before you start to evaluate your right to bear arms? You’re only protecting yourselves from each other!

  • Karen

    Maybe they shouldn’t be out killing defenseless animals…..

  • Joe


  • Shane

    Funny y’all got no truck if the two 17 and 18 year olds were out killing people in uniform but let one of ’ems younger friends get killed and none of the above are adults….which is it….can they kill people, vote, drive autos or tanks or do they need to be accompanied by adults, 18 or older, for that as well. You can’t have your killers and baby them too!!!

    • Roberta Waker

      The difference in killing people in uniform is that they are TRAINED. AND, they don’t go off by themselves. The parents are responsible for their stupidity in allowing these KIDS to go hunting on their own. PERIOD. AS for driving autos and voting, the jury is out on that too as more accidents are caused by and involve this age group. Voting speaks for itself because a lot of people believed in change – they weren’t smart enough to think for themselves either.

  • Joan

    These were all great responsible kids. It is a tragic accident. My heart goes out to all the families involved. One boy is gone forever and the other two will have to live with this for the rest of their lives. Not just the boys but their families as well.

    • Roberta Waker

      The kids may have been responsible, but unfortunately the parents weren’t. AND, no 14 year old should be out hunting. Even the military won’t take you unless you are 17 or 18 years old. There’s a reason for that, you know.

  • royalfuzziness

    No FOID cards or hunting license should be issued to anyone under 21.A mandatory
    gun safety class should also be required for anyone getting a hunting license.

  • Shane

    Joan there were four, three will live with this the rest of their lives.

    Your royalfuzziness I wonder if these ‘kids’ , the 17 and 18 year olds, had just returned from boot camp would you still require them to be 21 to kill animals.

    • Joane

      Shane — there were 3 boys total (this article is poorly written — how can you be pronounced dead – before you were shot?). Mike D. was the 17 year old.

  • Samantha

    I know the friend’s of Mike and everyone needs to give them the guys a break. Mike, at least died doing something he loved and was happy. His last facebook status states: “Damn, I got it all figured out, I got no worries that I’m worried about, It’s like I caught some crazy, happy disease, Damn, it feels good to be me.” No worries; he was one happy kid.
    The 14 year old, I sure as hell know he did it by accident, ACCIDENTS HAPPEN. The boys had no hunting violations, and as far as I know, they were responsible to hunt by themselves and didn’t need to have an adult to hold their hands. Give it a break and grow up!

    Mike is missed dearly and loved greatly by close friends and family. We all miss you Mike.

    • Chelle

      Just goes to show the gun laws really need to be adjusted!!!! I am appalled to even think of a young lad even being allowed to use a gun. Seriously, why would any parent give permission for an underage person to have a gun is absolutely ludicrous. For this horrible accident to happen just goes to show that the lads that had the gun should not have even had a gun. Accident Samantha???? if they didn’t have the gun it wouldn’t have happened. One of the reasons I love living in Australia. U need a licence n there is no chance of underage kids even having an opportunity to even handle a gun. so much to learn and so much to lose in all countries. A bloody sad event!!!!!!!!!!!


    A hit.

  • Stephen Levi Guptill

    Sounds like they were not trained properly in firearms use.

    Also, the description sounds bunk; rifles don’t accidentally go off, and you don’t realize ‘the muzzle is accidentally pointed’ at something other than what you intent to shoot.

    It also fails to state if his friend was ‘laying on the ground’ near the camp fire or ‘in the distance’ with the alleged squirrel…

    Sounds like an out of hand argument between armed 14 year old suburban brats raised on Call of Duty Xbox games…

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  • mike reiskis

    Stephen – I will be attending Mike’s wake tomorrow night along with my wife and our 16 year old son who was a good friend of Mike’s. Mike was a great kid, a gentleman, a hunter and at the age of 17 a far better man that you.

    I suggest you come to the wake tomorrow night where you can look his friends and parents in the eye and call their dead son a brat. Would you feel like a man then?

  • Joseph B.

    It is a sad accident and one that happens more frequently than reported. I am sure safety was taught as one of the most important parts of hunting, and the youth simply made a mistake. Hunting In Arkansas

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