Gifts left at the painted rock pay tribute to young Keegan Swinney, who died last week after a friend accidentally shot him with a pellet gun. Village Life photo by Noel Stack

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Family, community mourn loss of Keegan Swinney

By From page A1 | December 5, 2011

By Noel Stack and Jim Ratajczak

Ten-year-old Keegan Swinney died last week after a tragic pellet gun shooting accident near his home in El Dorado Hills.

The Silva Valley Elementary School student, who was shot in the chest by a 10-year-old friend, made it back to his Waterman Court home before collapsing. Family members administered first aid and medics responded to the scene but Keegan was pronounced dead at Mercy Folsom a short time after the Nov. 29 incident.

“We know he’s gone,” said Keegan’s father Craig Swinney, who spoke briefly outside the family’s home Sunday morning. “It’s hard to believe.”

To get through this tragedy  family members and friends are focusing on celebrating Keegan’s life, Craig added. “He was a happy kid, always running around.”

Superintendent David Roth said counselors and psychologists from the district and from the El Dorado County Office of Education were on Silva Valley’s campus last week, “having conversations with students.” The counselors were also available to parents.

The school will host a memorial service for Keegan in the multipurpose room at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6. See for a report on the event.

Though commonly thought of as children’s toys, BB guns and pellet rifles are responsible for an estimated four deaths each year in the United States, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The pellet gun that killed Keegan was a Remington Airmaster .177 caliber.

The CPSC recommends high-velocity BB or pellet guns not be used by children younger than 16 and that the guns not be pointed at another person. The CPSC also suggests the guns not be used without adult supervision.

Community members who wish to offer financial support for the Swinney family can do so by bringing checks payable to “The Swinney Memorial Fund” to the Silva Valley Elementary School office, or by visiting any American River Bank to make a deposit, or mailing a check to: American River Bank, 1545 River Park Drive, Suite 107, Sacramento 95815.

Noel Stack


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