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Monday, May 2, 2016

School grieves for shooting victim

Monday, September 12, 2011

Christian Watkins
For the second time in three years, Northview High School is grieving for one of its own.

Christian Watkins, 16, Harmony, died due to injuries sustained after an accidental shooting incident Sunday, according to Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton.

Heaton said Watkins was at home Sunday with two stepbrothers and his girlfriend when the incident occurred.

According to Heaton, Watkins was allegedly pulling the slide of a 45-caliber handgun back and forth and "dry firing" the weapon, something officials said he had done several times. At some point, the magazine was placed in the weapon, and taken back out, which activated the weapon.

"For whatever reason, he put it to his head, pulled the trigger and the gun went off," Heaton said.

At approximately 1:30 p.m., officials responded to the residence. Although the incident is still officially under investigation by the sheriff's department and coroner's office, it appears the shooting will be deemed accidental.

According to NHS Principal Lynn Romas, Watkins was a "popular young man" with many friends.

"Things were pretty quiet (Monday)," Romas said.

Romas added school counselors and local clergy offered spoke to students who needed comfort Monday morning in the school auditorium. Teachers also went to the Clay County Humane Society early in the morning to retrieve puppies and kittens for the students, to help with the healing process.

"He was a very good student," Romas said, adding Watkins participated in football and the band program.

In addition, he said a poster board and pen were placed in the auditorium where students could write messages for Watkins.

"We hope to give it to the parents," Romas said. "We hope to try to help the family as much as we can."

Watkins is the second NHS student to die tragically in the past three years. In 2009, students grieved over the death of then freshman Halie Hite, who died in an automobile accident.

"It's rough on the school," Romas said. "But we hope to provide support for his friends."

"This is one of those tragic incidents when working with a firearm," Heaton said. "It's a really tragic incident."

Other agencies responding to the scene included the Van Buren Township Volunteer Fire Department and TransCare.

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Thoughts and prayers for the Watkins family. What a tragic accident.

-- Posted by Emmes on Mon, Sep 12, 2011, at 2:41 PM

There has been alot more than just 2 deaths at northview over the past few year. One of them being my best friend Destiny Owens. Also there was Brandi Siples , Justin Snow. Why are None of them recognized in this article ???

-- Posted by shakara on Mon, Sep 12, 2011, at 6:01 PM

This entire incident is tragic and I am sure no disrespect was intended toward any deceased NHS student or their family. The article simply quotes the most recent loss, which happens to be Haile Hite. Northview, in my opinion, has had more than it's fair share of deaths over the years and each one is equally tragic and sad. Look at the memorial and count the names. Far too many, gone to soon! The memorial, that was spearheaded by Linda Nicoson, is one of the most inspiring things NHS can boast. ALL OF THEM, EVERY ONE OF THEM remembered and honored as one of NHS own, never forgotten. Prayers for Christian and all of the many family and close friends that are grieving today.

-- Posted by jsc on Mon, Sep 12, 2011, at 6:48 PM

Ive asked people from around the country, and apparently the number of under 20 year old deaths in Clay County is incredibly higher than the metropolitan people I asked. What is wrong with this county. Apparently the story "IT" has taken a different characteristic than mentioned.

-- Posted by EarlofCheese on Mon, Sep 12, 2011, at 9:44 PM

This article was about Christian Watkins, 16, Harmony. Any time a child's life is taken, it's sad but itis God's will. I feel for family and friends

-- Posted by carebuttonbroke on Tue, Sep 13, 2011, at 5:32 AM

Unfortunately Clay County has been plagued with teen deaths for nearly a decade. My family has lost 2 in the last 9 years and one more than a decade before that. It's a horrible tragedy especially when it's something could possibly have been prevented. Don't get me wrong, I am not placing blame on anyone here. Auto accidents are avoidable too. Speed, inexperience, alcohol, road conditions all play a part. I'm just saying it's almost been an epidemic in Clay County. My deepest heart felt condolences to the family and friends of Christian. My heart truly aches for you. :(

-- Posted by pkaguy35 on Tue, Sep 13, 2011, at 3:57 PM

A friend of grand daughter I pray that he was in God's path. I pray for my grand daughter losing another friend this year.

-- Posted by rlcez on Tue, Sep 13, 2011, at 5:43 PM

My thoughts and prayers are with is family and friends, and I hope they all find peace!

-- Posted by mother of 3 boys on Wed, Sep 14, 2011, at 1:41 PM

I am so very sorry for the Watkins family!! My heart goes out to each of them. I cant imagine losing a child and to gripe about who made the paper and who didnt just absolutely amazes me. I am sure each and every one of the parents of these kids that have been killed would give anything to not have to read their child's name in the paper and have them right beside them. RIP Christian!! Always and forever in my heart!!

-- Posted by srdd on Thu, Sep 15, 2011, at 6:50 PM

As a mother who has lost a daughter my thoughts and prayers are with the entire Watkins family tonight. I agree that there was no disrespect intended by not listing all of the teenagers names that are no longer with us. I can promise you that it is heartwrenching not heartwarming reading our childrens names in the newspaper under these circumstances! There is absolutely nothing that can even begin to prepare a parent of life without their child but to christians parents you will somehow find the strength to make it through this devastating time. Try to let all the memories that you have of your precious son ease some of the pain you are trying to endure.

-- Posted by tobysgirl on Thu, Sep 15, 2011, at 10:05 PM

yes, my heart goes out to the friends and family of this young man. I graduated from Northview and out of my class alone we lost 4 of our classmates and a couple great friends. I dont know what it is, but i know how it feels. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

-- Posted by danibaby on Fri, Sep 16, 2011, at 1:03 PM

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