Gary Boy Dies of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound

Police are investigating whether shooting was suicide or accidental

Family members of a pre-teen boy who was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound say the boy never showed any signs that he was troubled and have a hard time believing he would take his own life.

"He was bubbly. He thought he was a comedian. He always told corny jokes," said Krystal Slager, a friend of the 12-year-old Michael "Wayne" Maxey's family.

The sixth-grader's family reported Maxey missing Monday afternoon. That day, police say he returned home from school with his younger sister and left with a backpack containing a handgun and bullets. Police found his body -- along with the gun -- in the woods near his home early Wednesday morning.

Authorities have not yet confirmed whether his death was a suicide or accidental.

"It is primarily being investigated as a possible suicide, but we're not closing any doors until we get confirmation. We want to know what happened to this child," said Sgt. Dawn Westerfield.

Maxey's family said he enjoyed playing the saxophone and video games.  Hammond Baptist School said he was a "good boy who was very well-liked and respected by his teachers and classmates."

Longtime neighbor Howard Spradlin was brought to tears when he heard about Michael's death.

"God has a special place for him," Spradlin said.

An autopsy has been scheduled for Thursday.

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