Any time one of our students is hurt or passes away it has a huge impact on the whole school community. We just want students to know if they need somewhere to go, someone to talk to, we know this is really hard on our kids and we want to be there to support them. —Brighton High School Principal Charisse Hilton
COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — A 17-year-old boy was shot and killed at a party celebrating the end of the school year Wednesday as some teens were passing around a stolen gun.
A group of three teenage boys and two 18-year-old girls were gathered in the basement of a home at 6825 S. Pinerock Drive (3300 East) for the party Wednesday night.
A teenager who lives at the home had secured a revolver stolen during a residential burglary earlier in the week, said Cottonwood Heights Police Lt. Mark Askerlund. Investigators did not yet know if the teens at the party were involved in the burglary.
Around 10:30 p.m., the three boys left the room and the two girls stayed on a couch.
"The boys went to a closet area in the basement and one of them produced a handgun. They were showing it to each other, passing it around, and fired through several of the rounds," Askerlund said.
Police believe the boys thought the gun was unloaded. The initial rounds "cycled through what probably were some empty cylinders until it came into the live round. That round discharged, striking one of the juveniles," Askerlund said.
The bullet struck the teen in the head.
Adults at the home called 911 and tried to use live-saving measures, but the teen died at the home.
Police took everyone at the home in for questioning. Two 16-year-old boys, students at Brighton High School, were arrested and booked into juvenile detention, Cottonwood Heights Police Sgt. Corbett Ford said.
One teen was arrested for investigation of negligent homicide and the other for investigation of receiving stolen property.
Fellow classmates identified the victim as Harley Jarrett. He was a junior at Brighton High.
"We were made aware of the incident last night. Of course we are always saddened to hear of such tragic incidents. Our thoughts are with the entire community," said Jeff Haney, Canyons School District spokesman.
Brighton High School Principal Charisse Hilton said the school's counseling staff would be available to help students over the next several days.
"Anytime one of our students is hurt or passes away it has a huge impact on the whole school community," Hilton said. "We just want students to know if they need somewhere to go, someone to talk to, we know this is really hard on our kids and we want to be there to support them."
Rene Meyer, who lives near where the shooting occurred, said he was at home at the time of the incident and noticed what looked like the lights of "all the cop cars in the city" filling his street.
"It's always tragic, of course, and it probably was an accident," Meyer said. "It's always tragic ... and stupid. It doesn't have to happen."
Contributing: Shara Park, Whitney Evans