Page last updated at 14:20 GMT, Tuesday, 29 September 2009 15:20 UK

Air gun death 'a tragic accident'

Rhys Johnson
Rhys Johnson's death is 'traumatic for all concerned,' say police

Police have described the death of a 10-year-old boy who died after he was shot with an air gun as "a tragic accident".

Rhys Johnson died in Swansea's Morriston Hospital after being shot at around 1810 BST on Sunday.

A 12-year-old boy who knew him had been helping police inquiries. The death is not being treated as suspicious.

In a tribute, Rhys's family, who live in the Llansamlet area of Swansea, said: "Our hearts are broken."

South Wales Police said a number of forensic and other inquiries had been undertaken find out the events that led to Rhys's death.

Det Ch Inspector Peter Azzopardi said: "As a result of inquiries made, what emerges is a tragic accident which led to the death of Rhys Johnson

"This has been a shocking and traumatic event for all concerned and I ask that the families concerned as well as the local community of Llansamlet are allowed to come to terms with this tragedy."

Words cannot describe how much we will miss Rhys, our hearts are broken and he will always be in our thoughts
Statement by Rhys Johnson's family

He said family liaison officers have been appointed and a system was in place to offer counselling and support to friends of the young boys involved.

"Local schools have been involved in this process and counselling and support will be made available to any students and staff affected. "

In their statement, Rhys's family said: "Rhys was a very special little boy who enjoyed his young life to the full. He was popular with school friends and teachers alike and always looked forward to going to school.

"Rhys was a keen sportsman and enjoyed Thai boxing which he looked forward to going to with his sister Ashleigh every week".

"He was an important part of our lives and a very caring little boy who liked to share in our family problems."

"Losing Rhys in such tragic circumstances has had a devastating effect on our family.

Sister's tribute

"Words cannot describe how much we will miss Rhys, our hearts are broken and he will always be in our thoughts."

Rhys's sister, Ashleigh, paid her own tribute, adding: "I will miss you, you will never be forgotten, you will always be in my heart boy."

A lane in Midland Place was sealed off for forensic examination and house-to-house inquiries were undertaken after police were called on Sunday evening.

Immediate neighbour Roy Webber described Rhys as "very, very friendly".

The headteacher at Talycopa Primary School, where the Rhys was a pupil, said people at the school were "extremely shocked and saddened" by the death of a "quiet but popular and likeable young man".

A post-mortem examination has been completed and the coroner has been informed.

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



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Air gun death 'a tragic accident'
29 Sep 09 |  South West Wales

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