15-Year-Old Boy Accidentally Shoots and Kills Himself

By: Kelly Schlicht Email
By: Kelly Schlicht Email

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.


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  • by Chelsea Location: Jump River on Nov 18, 2008 at 03:09 PM
    Brady Jo will pry be the sweetest guy i will ever meet...i will never forget the great times we spent together like prom or at the Rusk County Fair.. great times .. u always knew how to make me laugh.. he was the greatest guy ever and he will be remembered 4ever by everyone that knew him.... everytime i saw him he was smiling i will never 4get the 1st time i met him..:) You are 4ever in my heart... I LOVE YOU BRADY AND WILL NEVER 4Get you...
  • by Kelly K Location: Tony on Oct 5, 2008 at 07:34 PM
    I want to take this moment to tell everyone THANK YOU for your kind words and LOVE for our son. He was a boy full of life who LOVED everyone, no matter who or what or how they treated him. He was kind gentle soul who was Definetly a kid full of life & person who apprecitaed ALL the people. I thank everyone who loves my son and ask you PLEASE always remember him and know he was in our lives for a reason that only god can explain to us. A reply to the comment on the "loaded" gun in the 'locked" cabinet.... We (his father and I) still and probably will NEVER know how that gun got in the cabinet loaded. Was it my son? my Husband? we don't know, it was NOT and NEVER will be a custom for us here in our home. It truly was an "accident", safety has always been of the utmost importance. All I know is that rude remarks on "how YOU would have done it" or "practice saftey" WE DID! Crass remark or not my son is gone and rude remarks only makes us hurt more, sorry but I hurt enough, I need no more!
  • by amanda baker Location: glenflora on Sep 30, 2008 at 09:24 AM
    brady we will miss u when were singing the national anthem without u its goin tobe so very depressing and i am for sure gonna cryon friday the 3rd your in our thought and prayers(I LOVE U BRADY!!!)
  • by amanda Baker Location: glen flora wi on Sep 30, 2008 at 09:14 AM
    Brady was a really cool friend he would always try to get u to laugh and his cheese smile that tells u hes's going to do something he will always be with me/you and thought and prayers everyday brady will never be forgotten no matter what at first i thought he was playing a joke and he would come to school and tell everybody it was and thier were times i was hoping it was a dream(I LOVE/MISS U LOTS BRADY!!!)
  • by Baker Location: glen flora on Sep 25, 2008 at 11:10 AM
    brady was like a brother to me it was tragic to here about his death but he'll never leave my heart our soul im gunna miss you brady.! I LOVE YOU BRAY!
  • by Gabby Location: Flambeau School on Sep 23, 2008 at 04:23 PM
    Brady Will live with us forever we all miss him very much
  • by Jamie on Sep 23, 2008 at 12:58 PM
    This is truly is a tragedy. To have passed so young. It is unfortunate,but it could have been prevented. First off, who stores a firearm LOADED? Ammo and firearms should ALWAYS be kept seperated.That firearm should not have been loaded until he arrived to his hunting area. It's unfortunate and I truly feel sorry his friends and family. I cannot imagine the pain they are feeling. My heart goes out to all and a tragic lesson for all.
  • by A hunter's mom Location: Eau Claire on Sep 23, 2008 at 12:43 PM
    Since a near accident years ago with an "unloaded" .22, we have been fanatical about never letting a loaded gun in the house. Even when my kids had b.b. guns, if they brought them in with even one pellet in they lost the priviledge of using it. A tradgedy that could have been avoided...
  • by Jared Betley Location: Conrath on Sep 23, 2008 at 09:41 AM
    Brady was a very good friend. It is different without him at school. I miss him very much.
  • by Tasha Location: Sheldon on Sep 23, 2008 at 09:08 AM
    All I can say is that I am sorry for your loss. It's just not right that God chooses to take children. Brady, a young man who never got the chance to grow old and have a life of his own. To the family, Stick together, you need each other. Brady will be there in your hearts forever. Even if you can't see him, he IS THERE!! R.I.P Brady!!
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