Police continue to look into a shooting that claimed the life of an Altoona teenager this week.
Jesse T. McElhinney, 16, of 125 E. Third Ave. was killed Wednesday afternoon after a friend brought a handgun to his house, McElhinney's grandfather Dean Sprankle said Thursday.
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"I guess he didn't think it was loaded," Sprankle said of the boy, who was a friend of his grandson's from church.
Sprankle said he and his wife, Bev, were raising Jesse and his older brother, Kenneth, 18, after the boys' parents died. He said Jesse was "a good kid" who was getting good grades - he was a high honor student - was active in the church and had a lot of friends.
"It's something - you can't put a picture on it," Sprankle said of the shooting and the effect it's had on the family. He said Jesse's death has been hard on all of them.
"They're supposed to bury us - not [us] bury them," Sprankle said.
Exactly what happened on Wednesday afternoon remains unclear. Sprankle said the friend brought the .38-caliber handgun to the house, and McElhinney was shot in the temple.
Sprankle said it was his understanding the other teen, who was taken into custody by Altoona police following the shooting, has now been released.
A neighbor, who declined to give his last name but said he was two years older than Jesse McElhinney, said the news of Jesse's death "was difficult."
"We were supposed to go sledding," said the young man. "He was just a good kid."
Altoona Area School District spokeswoman Paula Foreman said grief counselors will be available for students and faculty when school resumes Jan. 2.
Police said no new details of the shooting would be released Thursday but investigators would be meeting with Blair County District Attorney Richard Consiglio to discuss whether charges would be filed.
Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.