TALLMADGE TWP. (WWJ/AP) – A 16-year-old West Michigan boy died two days after he was shot while he and a friend played with a gun.
Brandon Kuiper died Friday in a Grand Rapids hospital. He was shot in the face Wednesday night in the basement of his home in Tallmadge Township, west of Grand Rapids.
Richard Usher, 18, was arraigned Thursday on an attempted manslaughter charge. The charge was upgraded Friday to manslaughter. He’s being held in the Ottawa County Jail on a $200,000 bond.
“It’s very, very early in the case and at this point we have no comment,” Usher’s attorney, Philip Sielski, told The Associated Press on Friday. “We express our condolences to the family of Mr. Kuiper.”
The shooting followed talk about a game of “Russian roulette,” Ottawa County Sheriff’s Lt. Mark Bennett told MLive.com on Thursday.
Four other males, ages 17 to 19, were in the basement when the shooting occurred. No one else was hurt.
“They were having a little get-together in the downstairs bedroom,” Bennett said. “They were … playing around with the handgun.”
Police recovered a .22-caliber revolver at the house. Bennett said the gun is owned by Usher’s grandfather. Beer, liquor and marijuana also were found in the basement.
“It certainly could have contributed to what happened,” Bennett said of the alcohol and marijuana. “It’s not a healthy mixture at all. Certainly this whole thing is a terrible tragedy.”
Investigators also learned “there were previous incidents of this type of horseplay,” Bennett said.
Usher and Kuiper attended the same alternative high school, Allendale Public Schools Superintendent Dan Jonker said.
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