A 14-year-old boy playing with a revolver belonging to a Los Angeles police officer accidently shot and killed a 6-year-old neighbor boy inside the officer’s mid-Wilshire home Thursday night.
The teen-ager, a family friend of Officer Digby Sharp, was spending the evening at the Sharp home when at about 8 p.m. he reached into a desk drawer in the officer’s bedroom and found a .38-caliber revolver, authorities said.
As the teen-ager played with the loaded pistol, they said, it accidently discharged and fatally wounded Joshua Shima, 6, whose family lives next door. Police investigators said Sharp was not home at the time. The two boys were being watched by Sharp’s father, who apparently was downstairs.
After questioning, police investigators ruled the shooting an accident and released the teen-ager.
All day Friday, on a tight-knit block of longtime residents and newcomers from South Korea, neighbors took food to the Shima household, helped with funeral arrangements and mourned alongside the family.
Faith Sullivan said Joshua’s family had been living on the block when she and her husband moved there in 1969. Joshua was one of the few youngsters in a neighborhood of mostly older couples, whose children had grown up and left.
He was outgoing and friendly and regarded the neighbors’ front yards as an extension of his own. The neighbors regarded him as part of their families.
“Most of us are in our middle age, and he was the young one. He was a darling boy, everybody’s favorite,” Sullivan said. “We can’t believe this has happened. He was so alive. . . . It’s like there’s a great big hole on the block now.”