A 15-year-old Cheektowaga girl fired the rifle that killed a Kuwaiti-born teenager Sunday after an overnight party, apparently believing that the weapon wasn't loaded, police said Monday.
"They thought the gun was empty," Cheektowaga police Capt. John Glascott said.
Monday, investigators were trying to piece together what took place in the garage apartment on Ivanhoe Road, where Khalid Ali, 18, was found with a gunshot wound to his head Sunday afternoon.
So far, no charges have been filed against the girl, whose name has not been released because she is a juvenile.
Police said the girl and her mother, who was at home at the time of the shooting, were cooperating with the investigation.
Shortly after the shooting, Cheektowaga police arrested a 15-year-old Buffalo boy who was believed to have been at the party. He was picked up on an outstanding Family Court warrant and for having a .22-caliber handgun -- but police don't believe his gun had anything to do with the fatal shooting.
Meanwhile on Monday, Ali's friends and loved ones gathered at the teen's Black Rock home to console his heartbroken family.
"He was an innocent," said his father, Ali Albadri, as mourners poured into their Dearborn Street house.
Men and boys sat quietly on the floor of the house, at times breaking down in tears as they stared at photos of the smiling teenager -- wearing a bright red soccer jersey in one picture, holding his little cousin in another.
Albadri recalled how he last heard from his son at about 1 p.m. on his way back from an overnight party.
"He said, 'I'm at the bus stop,' " Albadri said. "He said, 'I'm going to go home now.' "
Two hours later, police officers arrived at Albadri's door to inform him his son was in Erie County Medical Center.
According to friends, Ali had intended to leave the party but returned after learning pizza had been ordered.
While at the apartment, some of the teens got hold of a .22-caliber rifle and began fooling around with it, according to police and friends. It is not clear who brought the weapon to the home.
The 15-year-old girl picked up the weapon and discharged it at about 2:15 p.m., striking Ali, police said.
The party-goers, about 30 in all, quickly scattered, and someone stashed the rifle in a downstairs room, where it was later found by investigators.
Ali was rushed to the hospital, where he lingered for several hours.
"I saw him," Albadri said. "He got shot in the head. [The bullet] stopped in the middle of his head."
The teenager died at about 11:30 p.m.
Albadri said Ali was born in Kuwait and had been raised in Nasiriyah, Iraq. The family fled Iraq in 2002, and the United Nations arranged for them to resettle in Buffalo.
"I brought them here to make a good life," Albadri said.
Now, the father is making plans to send his son's body back to Iraq for burial. Ali was working on getting his general education diploma and enjoyed playing sports, especially soccer, with his friends, according to his family.