On Saturday afternoon, fifteen-year-old Brady Kowaleski was getting ready to go hunting with his dad near Tony when a 12-gauge shotgun went off, shooting him in the head.
Brady's death has sent shockwaves through the small community, where everyone knew Brady as a fun-loving jokester.
Those close to him say he was an avid hunter, and knew about gun safety, which makes this accident all the more tragic. But, they're coping by remembering all the good times.
"I'm just expecting him to walk through that door and tell everybody it was all a big joke, and how he got everybody,” says Tyler Leonhard. “But as the day goes on, he's not walking through those doors."
Leonard never thought he'd lose the buddy he's had since pre-school.
At Brady Kowaleski's locker on Monday, there was a memorial for the JV football star, instead of a backpack, and friends mourning, instead of laughing.
"He could always make me laugh," says junior Rockford McKittrick.
Sheriff David Kaminski says Brady's father found his body near a gun cabinet. Kaminski says it appears Brady was removing the loaded shotgun out of the locked gun cabinet and it went off.
Senior Clarence Fawley can't believe the kid he thought of as a little brother is now gone.
"It doesn't really seem real. Even now, after a couple of days,” Fawley says, holding back his emotions. “Just not hearing his voice, seeing him around."
There have been counselors and clergy helping students through this tough time. Both Brady's parents work at the school: His mom, a special education aide, and his dad, the nighttime custodian. Superintendent Bill Pfalzgraf is close with the family, and says they’re taking the loss extremely hard.
"She's worried about the kids, she should be there for the kids, and we just shared with her that the kids want to be there for you this time,” says Pfalzgraf. “Everybody needs support."
The JV football game was cancelled for Monday night, and with homecoming week coming up next week, everyone around school says Brady will be there in spirit.
Rusk County Sheriff David Kaminski says no charges will be filed, because it was just a tragic accident.
The funeral is set for tomorrow in Ladysmith at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church. Visitation begins at 12:30 pm, and the funeral Mass begins at 2:30 pm.