(STERLING, Va.) — A teenager, shot and killed when he entered a neighbor’s home and was mistaken for an intruder, was drunk and did not realize he was in the wrong house, the boy’s father said.
Caleb Gordley, 16, a popular high school athlete in Sterling, Va., was shot early Sunday morning at a home two doors down from his own. The homeowner thought he was an intruder, officials with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said.
Gordley’s father, Shawn Gordley, told ABC News affiliate WJLA-TV that his son snuck out on Saturday night and went to a party, where he drank alcohol with friends.
Early Sunday morning on his way back from the party, Caleb hopped a fence behind what he thought was his own home, his father said.
He then climbed through his neighbor’s unlocked window, triggering a security alarm, police told ABC News.
Shawn Gordley said the layout of the two homes are similar and he is certain that the boy believed he was entering his own home.
“I was just informed that Caleb & his friend hopped the fence into the wrong backyard,” Shawn Gordley wrote on Twitter on Monday. “They both thought it was my house. Caleb then climbed through an UNLOCKED window and staggered up the staircase that is identical to mine. Caleb would have went home with this friend, even though he knew I would have been furious, if that window was locked.”
The Loudon County Sheriff’s Office said deputies are investigating Gordley’s death but declined to release other details, including the homeowner’s name.
Gordley was a well-liked basketball player at Park View High School, where students wore orange on Monday and participated in a moment of silence in his memory.
“He was absolutely a great student-athlete. Extremely enthusiastic,” Gordley’s basketball coach, Mike Koscinski, told WJLA. “Everyone’s just devastated.”
“I know it’s an intruder but I don’t see why your first instinct is to shoot somebody,” Parkview High School graduate Tyler Henderson said.
Henderson said he played basketball with Gordley only a few days ago.
Shawn Gordley did not answer calls from ABC News seeking comment.
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Laurie Segall, CNN
Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz and Holly Yan, CNN