Vigil held for Brown County 9-year-old recovering from gunshot wound to the head

DECATUR, Ohio - A candlelight vigil was held in a small Brown County, Ohio, town Wednesday for a 9-year-old who is recovering from a gunshot wound to the head.

Brown County Sheriff Dwayne Wenniger says Sebastian Swartz was shot Monday when his sister tried to take away a handgun he was holding at their home on State Route 125 in Decatur, Ohio. Sebastian's father, Chris Swartz, was at work and his mother, Shanna, was in another room of their house at the time of the accident.

According to the most recent reports from family and friends, Sebastian is in an induced coma but breathing on his own and physically responding to touch at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

While waiting on further news of his condition, neighbors are trying to come to terms with the tragedy that took place in their community.

"It's a loving, kind wonderful community and we had a small tragedy here," said Annie Staggs who organized the vigil. "We all care for each other and look out for other people."

As "Amazing Grace" played in the background and people were openly praying for the young boy and his family, other members of the community were looking for ways to go on with their lives and make sense of what happened.

Paula Cenci made her 8-year-old son, Jacob, go to school on Wednesday so he could be around friends during this difficult time.

"It's better to be with his friends," said Cenci. "He didn't understand. It was really hard."

Jacob called Sebastian, who he sits next to on the bus, a "nice kid" who "smiles a lot."

Attempting to make sense of what happened inside the Swartz's home would be difficult for an adult. Articulating the grim life-and-death reality to a young child is next to impossible.

"We just explained to him exactly what happened," said Cenci. "He's getting to that age. He needs to be aware of what the results and consequences are to playing with guns or finding guns."

Cenci says the community should use this situation as a life lesson.

"Just make sure [guns are] locked up. Make sure you don't have your bullets together, keep it separate. Teach your kids to be afraid. It's not a toy," Cenci said.

For now, all the Brown County community can do is hope and pray Sebastian makes a full recovery.

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