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PD: 16-year-old shot, killed at Phoenix house; suspect was playing with gun

PD: 17-year-old shot, killed at Phoenix house
Posted at 11:38 AM, Dec 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-03 20:19:47-05

Officials are investigating after a 16-year-old died at a house in Phoenix. 

Phoenix police said officers responded to a house near 67th Avenue and McDowell Road at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday for a reported shooting. 

Witnesses first told police that the victim, later identified as Eddie Vargas, shot himself. 

"Especially at that young of an age, Eddie didn't need to be involved in any of that," said a friend who wanted to remain anonymous. "It's just a horrible situation."

Investigators arrived on the scene and noticed some inconsistencies. Through an investigation, officials determined the suspect, 18-year-old Jose Heredia-Garcia, was playing with a gun when the victim was shot. 

According to court paperwork, Heredia-Garcia was playing with the gun and pointing it at people after unloading the ammunition from it. He then pulled the trigger while pointing the gun at Vargas; shooting him in the head.

"I don't want everyone thinking he is a bad guy," said the friend about Garcia. "He made a stupid decision. That's why you don't mess around like that. Gun safety is a real issue."

Before the shooting occurred, the group was taking pictures with the gun, court documents said. Heredia-Garcia claims he didn't know there were bullets in the gun but witnesses told investigators he often plays with firearms. 

The suspect was arrested for manslaughter and possession of a weapon by a prohibited possessor. 

Heredia-Garcia told authorities he purchased the gun from a friend last year, court paperwork said. He is not legal in the United States and is a Mexican citizen. He allegedly admitted to police that he knew it was illegal for him to have a gun.

No other information is known.