First day of classes canceled after death of student, staff member

First day of classes canceled after death of student, staff member
Students and friends spell out the name of Austin Lundeen while gathering around an impromptu memorial at North Douglas High after their classmate was accidentally shot Thursday night - Photo contributed by Megan Lymath

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DRAIN, Ore. -- A small Douglas County town is still reeling after a 16-year-old boy was accidentally shot and killed Thursday night while spending the night at a friend's house in Drain, Ore.

The victim, identified as Austin Lundeen, was accidentally shot with a hunting rifle by his 15-year-old friend, the sheriff's office said. Both boys were members of the North Douglas High School Warrior football team.

Officials with the North Douglas School District canceled Tuesday's classes for it's elementary, middle and high school students, postponing the first day of class until Wednesday.

Superintendent John Lahley attributed the cancellation to Lundeen's death as well as the death of a staff member at North Douglas Elementary.

Lahley said that he wanted to give faculty and staff a chance to talk about how they will move forward with students.

Officials added that all district faculty and staff are asked to report to the multipurpose building at 9 am Tuesday, Sept. 3.

"He was definitely a character and kind of kept things alive on the team," N. Douglas football coach JJ Mast said of Lundeen. "So you know, it's still setting in, we're all having a pretty tough time."

Friday night's football game was canceled as the community grieved for Lundeen and his family.

"They were at our house," said Bill Gasswint, a parent who saw both boys earlier in the day. "Just came over to visit the girls, come and talk, hang out on our front porch."

Deputies said Lundeen had been spending the night at his friend's house in the 3800 block of Hayhurst Road in Drain.

They were called out to the residence at around 10:45 p.m. after getting calls of a fatal shooting. Officials pronounced Lundeen deceased at the scene.

The boys were in the bedroom together when deputies say they decided to handle a hunting rifle belonging to the 15-year-old.

The younger boy was handing the rifle to his friend when the rifle accidentally discharged and struck the teen, the sheriff's office said.

The shooting was investigated by the Sheriff's Office and the Douglas County Deputy Medical Examiner's Office and determined to be accidental.