DIGHTON, MASS. (WHDH) - An 18-year-old Rehobeth man was arraigned Wednesday in connection with the shooting death of a 17-year-old boy in Dighton Tuesday evening.
Joseph Medeiros pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Taunton District Court on charges of involuntary manslaughter, carrying an illegal firearm, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon stemming from the death of Michael Pacheco, who was found shot in the chest in his home on Forest Street about 7 p.m., according to court documents.
Investigators say that 20 minutes before he was shot, Pacheco asked Medeiros to stop playing with the loaded 9mm handgun he had brought to the house.
Officers responding to the scene said they found Pacheco in the living room with an apparent gunshot wound to the chest. He was rushed to Morton Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
An investigation revealed Pacheco’s parents were away on vacation at the time of the shooting and that Medeiros, Pacheco, and another teen were sitting around a kitchen table and playing around with a stolen gun when it accidentally went off, according to police. Pacheco had reportedly asked Medeiros to put the gun away and stop playing with it.
“This defendant complies, puts it away, and then approximately 20 minutes later takes it out again,” the prosecutor said in court Wednesday.
The police report from the incident stated that Medeiros fled the scene with a friend, later telling that friend while in the car, “The best thing I ever did was throw that gun in the woods.”
Investigators spent all day Wednesday searching for that glock handgun in the backyard the crime scene, using a gun dog, metal detectors, and even a tractor to flatten a hayfield.
The victim’s grandparents heard the commotion from next door and ran over to try to help, but there was nothing they could do.
Pacheco was a student at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School and would have been a senior this fall. The school’s principal, John Gould, said, “He was known for always having a smile…he would do anything for his friends.”
Grief counselors were on hand at the school Wednesday. Neither family has commented on the matter.
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