Sweetwater teen dies after accidentally shooting self with gun

Sweetwater teen dies after accidentally shooting self with gun

Matthew Daniels (source: Facebook) Matthew Daniels (source: Facebook)
Sweetwater High School is mourning the loss of Daniels. Sweetwater High School is mourning the loss of Daniels.

6 News Anchor/Reporter

SWEETWATER (WATE) - A Sweetwater teen died Thursday evening after accidentally shooting himself with a family handgun, according to Sweetwater Police Department officials.

Police said they responded to a possible shooting call around 5:45 p.m. Thursday on Morris Street.

Officials found 15-year-old Matthew Daniels with a gunshot wound. His mother was performing CPR but officers immediately took over.

Daniels was a freshman at Sweetwater High School, where students and teachers are working to absorb the loss of the beloved student.

He was just walking the school's hallways with his classmates on Thursday, a mere couple of hours before he died.

As the shock settles in, they're focusing on the memories of who he was.

Sweetwater High School Principal David Watts knew Daniels his entire life and said he was one of those kids you never had to worry about.

He was just born doing right and was a friend to everyone.

"Matthew Daniels was a great kid. I don't think I ever saw Matt without a smile on his face. You never hear another kid say anything about him but fun and how he would tell jokes and laugh," said Watts.

Daniels was an honor student, had just been named Student of the Month and was toying with the idea of trying out for the baseball team.

It's hard to believe he's really gone, especially for his close friends.

"That group that walked home everyday has had that friendship severed by death. It's hard for them. Here everybody hurts so everybody grieves together," said Watts. "I don't think when someone is gone you ever really replace them. The loss is hard but now it's the going on from the loss and how we deal with it."

In an effort to help students and teachers deal with the loss they're feeling, the school's faculty is hosting a memorial assembly in the school gym Sunday afternoon.

Students and their parents are welcomed to attend.

They will also have grief counselors at school next week to help students work through the pain.

"We have to encourage our kids to remember Matt in a good light. Not for the fact that he's gone but for the fact of how much joy Matt brought all our lives while he was here," said Watts.

The memorial assembly will begin at 2 p.m. at Sweetwater High School at 414 South High Street.

Visitation for Daniels is Monday from 4 to 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Sweetwater.

His funeral is Tuesday at 6 p.m., also at First Baptist.

Sweetwater High has set up the "Matthew Daniels Fund" to help his family pay for funeral expenses.

To donate, contact the school at (423) 337-7881.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is assisting with the shooting investigation. Officials said there were no signs of foul play.

Sweetwater PD said in a press release "this is a tragic event for our community and our prayers are with the family at this time."

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