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.”
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