The mother of a 17-year-old Westminster youth who fatally shot himself and wounded a friend Tuesday night said the shooting "had to be a freak accident."
Police say Mark Anthony DiPietro Jr. shot himself in the head while playing with a 9mm semi automatic handgun in his car. The gun fell and discharged a second time, hitting 16-year-old Frank John Filemyr, a front-seat passenger, in the arm.
The two were riding in the DiPietro youth's car near young Filemyr's home on Woodview Road in Finksburg about 10 p.m. Tuesday, police said, when the DiPietro youth pulled the weapon from under the front seat.
He was driving and playing with the gun when it discharged, striking him in the left side of the head, police said. A second shot was fired as the weapon, still in the wounded youth's hand, fell against the armrest. Police said the bullet probably ricocheted off the dashboard before striking young Filemyr in the arm.
State police spokesman Michael McKelvin said the Filemyr youth turned the ignition off and that the car drifted to a stop. He ran to a house on Woodview Road and asked the resident to call 911, police said.
Both youths were flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where young DiPietro was pronounced dead.
"This was just a freak accident," said M. Elizabeth DiPietro, Mark's mother.
Mark's father, state police Cpl. Mark Anthony DiPietro Sr., 40, committed suicide with a shotgun in his cruiser Sept. 13 while off duty.
"I don't know how this could have happened," Mrs. DiPietro said. "Mark was very familiar with guns. He and his father used to like to target shoot."
Frank Filemyr was treated and released early yesterday.
"He is fine and at home," said Frank J. Filemyr Sr., the youth's father. "The bullet went straight through his arm without hitting bone or nerve. We just feel so sorry for the other family."
The teen-agers had known each other since they were Cub Scouts together and Mrs. DiPietro was their den mother, she said.
"Mark had just lost his father," Mrs. DiPietro said. "He had been living one day at a time since his father's death. He wasn't thinking much of his own future yet."
Police said the investigation is continuing. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Pritts Funeral Home & Chapel, 412
Washington Road, Westminster.