Russian Roulette-style game at birthday party ends in tragedy

Austin Balcarcel is seen in a photo obtained by CBS affiliate WTVR-TV of Richmond, Virginia.
Austin Balcarcel is seen in a photo obtained by CBS affiliate WTVR-TV of Richmond, Virginia.

SANDSTON, Va. (CBS) — Authorities in Virginia say a teenager died after shooting himself while playing a Russian Roulette-style game during his 18th birthday party.

CBS Richmond affiliate WTVR-TV reports court documents show police found Austin Balcarcel with a gunshot wound to his head early Sunday at a home in Sandston.

He was taken to a hospital, where he died Monday.

Balcarcel’s friend told police he and Balcarcel were in a detached garage when Balcarcel pulled out a revolver, opened it, closed it, spun it around once and put it to his head, pulling the trigger.

The gun just clicked, and Balcarcel’s friend told him to stop, WTVR-TV reports. According to an affidavit, Balcarcel said, “I know how to handle a gun,” and placed the gun to his temple again.

Balcarcel pulled the trigger and the gun discharged.

“All we heard was a gunshot, and we looked out the window real fast, and we just saw Austin collapsed on the floor,” said Balcarcel’s girlfriend Amber Crampton told WTVR-TV.

“It was him and his mom’s birthday,” said Crampton. “We were all inside. We were having a good time.”

Henrico County police Lt. Chris Garrett says police are still investigating, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

Police did a search of the detached garage and found the gun placed in a fertilizer bag, WTVR-TV reports. Affidavits say Balcarcel’s stepfather put it there.

The gun was a .38-caliber revolver that had been stolen during a rash of car break-ins in June.

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