UPDATED with funeral information
OVERLAND • A 15-year-old boy who fatally shot himself in the chest Friday was apparently trying to take a selfie when the gun accidentally discharged, police said Tuesday.
The photograph hasn’t been found — police will be asking a lab to access the boy’s cellphone — but that is the Overland police investigators’ leading theory in the death of DaMontez Jones.
The teen died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his right upper chest, and the shooting has been ruled an accident, police said.
The teen’s older brothers, who said they were in another room when DaMontez was shot, told their father about the idea of the selfie, too, said DaMontez’s father, Dennis Jones Sr.
“They said he was trying to take a picture and (the gun) went off,” Jones said.
The shooting happened about 7:30 p.m. Friday at a home in the 9500 block of Page Avenue. DaMontez was there with two older brothers, ages 16 and 17, and a younger half-sibling, Jones said. No adults were home. None of the children witnessed the shooting, police say.
DaMontez was rushed to a hospital, where he died.
Jones, who lives elsewhere, said DaMontez found the gun at the home that DaMontez’s mother shares with her fiancé, and the gun belonged to the fiancé. The fiancé worked as a security guard, said Overland police Lt. Steve Branham. Police are trying to confirm details about who owned the gun in follow-up interviews with relatives.
Branham said it appears DaMontez found the gun in a bedroom closet, on a top shelf, and the gun was not secured in a lock box or with a safety lock.
Branham said investigators are putting stock in the selfie theory in part because of the proximity of the phone and gun.
“He had a cellphone found next to him,” Branham said.
Police can’t get the phone to work and are sending it to a lab to see if there are any pictures in the phone of DaMontez with the gun.
”We’re pretty solid in that theory but will go the extra mile to see if there are pictures there,” Branham said.
They have seen DaMontez’s other postings on social media but have not seen any pictures of him with a gun.
Over 17 months, he posted nearly 30 selfies. In most, he’s alone, flashing a big smile, often taking a photo of his reflection in a bathroom mirror. In others, he is joined by friends. But nowhere is a gun seen or referenced, except in a cartoon image he posted in March of a boy holding a gun in each hand and wearing a Superman shirt.
Jones, 34, said his son went by the nickname “Tez.” He had just finished his freshman year at Ritenour High School.
“He loved hockey and rock ’n’ roll,” Jones said.
Diane Jones, the boy’s paternal grandmother, said her grandson was “real smart,” had been baptized and had a renewed focus on attending church, and enjoyed playing golf.
Dennis Jones said the death of his son makes him firmly believe two pieces of advice.
“Parents should spend more time with their kids,” he said.
“And if they have guns in the house, put a lock on the gun. Police give them out for free.”
The police investigation continues. Branham said it is possible, though unlikely, that the gun owner could face charges, on a count such as endangering the welfare of a child.
The funeral will be June 14 at House of Deliverance Church, at 9355 St. Charles Rock Road. Visitation will be at 9 a.m., and the funeral will follow.