Page last updated at 13:31 GMT, Monday, 28 September 2009 14:31 UK

Boy, 10, dies in air gun shooting

Rhys Johnson
Rhys Johnson, 10, was a well mannered and well brought up boy, say neighbours

A 10-year-old boy has died after he was shot with an air gun in Swansea.

Police were called to the Llansamlet area of the city at 1815 BST on Sunday but the boy died later in intensive care at Morriston Hospital.

A neighbour said the grandmother of the boy, named locally as Rhys Johnson, told him he had been involved in an accident.

Police are not treating the death as suspicious. A 12-year-old boy, who knew the boy, is helping police inquiries.

A lane in Midland Place has been sealed off for forensic examination and house to house inquiries are ongoing.

Immediate neighbour Roy Webber said he knew Rhys very well as the youngster and his sister would visit the chickens and pigeons he keeps in his garden.

"He was very, very friendly," he added.

Mr Webber said the first he knew of the incident was when he saw police in the lane at the back of his garden.

"The grandmother told me what had happened, that the little boy had had an accident and had been shot and that they had taken him to Morriston Hospital," he said.

Neighbours say the boy, who has been named locally as Rhys Johnson, was "well-mannered" and "lovely"

"Later we heard the news that he had an operation and was in intensive care."

He said he was told in the early hours of Monday that Rhys had died.

He said the lane where the incident happened was used by youngsters to play in.

"They ride their bikes up there. It's very quiet. This has been a big shock to us all around here," he added.

Darren Casker, headteacher at Talycopa Primary School, where the boy was a pupil, said: "Everyone at the school is extremely shocked and saddened by this terrible news.

Police van in lane
A police van in the lane on Monday near where the incident happened

"Rhys was a quiet but popular and likeable young man who will be sadly missed by all his friends and the staff at the school.

"All our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time."

A family friend said his thoughts were with parents Wendy and David Johnson, who works at a local Kwik-Fit outlet.

"I still can't believe what has happened, it just hasn't sunk in yet," said Peter O'Grady, 54.

"Everybody knows everybody around here, it is a very close knit community, I've lived here for 50 years myself.

"My heart goes out to Wendy and David. I've known David since he was a baby. Rhys and his sister were always playing along here together, you rarely saw them apart.

"People are deeply shocked by what has happened. No one is speaking, no one can believe what has happened.

"Rhys was such a well mannered, well brought up little boy. This is a terrible, terrible tragedy. I was only speaking to him and his sister in the street yesterday."

Assistant Chief Constable Colette Paul of South Wales Police said: "Our sympathies go out to the family... who have lost their lovely boy.

"It is a very difficult time for both families and I ask that their privacy is respected."

Anyone with information is asked to contact the incident room at Cockett police station on 01792 562731

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