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Local News

Teen killed in 'tragic accident' was Reed-Custer freshman

Photo of Michael Wilkey on the GoFundMe page to pay for burial and funeral expenses.
Photo of Michael Wilkey on the GoFundMe page to pay for burial and funeral expenses.

WILMINGTON – The teen killed at a Wilmington church in what police called “a tragic accident” was a freshman at Reed-Custer High School.

“We lost a freshman student, Michael Wilkey, this week to an unfortunate accident,” Reed-Custer School District posted on its Facebook page Dec. 28.

Authorities have yet to identify Wilkey. But he has been identified in news media reports and on social media as the 15-year-old accidentally shot at the Christian Faith Center outside Wilmington at 11:45 p.m. Dec. 26.

A GoFundMe campaign has been started for Wilkey’s family at www.gofundme.com/michael-wilkey to pay for funeral and medical expenses.

“He comes from a very loving family and we cannot even put into words how much we just want him to be here with us,” the GoFundMe page states. “Mikey was the best kid you could ever meet. He was so full of love and laughter, and he had the biggest heart.”

The Reed-Custer Facebook page describes Wilkey as having been “an energetic and caring person” with an “infectious smile and bubbly personality.”

“Michael wanted to be a carpenter and enjoyed taking things apart and putting them back together,” the Facebook posting said.

Officials at Reed-Custer could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

“It was determined that this was a tragic accident,” Will County Sheriff Mike Kelley said at a Dec. 27 news conference the morning after the shooting where he also said no charges would be filed.

Wilkey was sleeping over in a living quarters at the church when he and the 17-year-old son of the pastor heard what they thought was the sound of someone breaking into the building, Kelley said.

The pastor’s son grabbed a rifle from the closet as the two teens went to investigate the noise, Kelley said. The rifle discharged when the older teen tripped over an electrical cord. The shot hit Wilkey, who was leading the way.

The two teens were cousins. Wilkey lived in Godley.

Kelley said it did not appear to police that anyone actually was trying to break into the church that night.

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