Authorities said a Sterling homeowner gave a verbal warning and fired a warning shot before firing more shots that killed a teenager who entered his home by accident early Sunday morning.
The update from the Loudoun County Sherriff's office is the first time they have revealed specific information about what happened in the moments before Caleb A. Gordley, 16, was fatally shot around 2:30 am.
The sheriff's office said Gordley - who lived two houses away - had been drinking and entered the his neighbor's house through a rear, unlocked window, setting off the home's alarm. The sheriff's office said Gordley did not enter the home with any criminal intent; it seems he may have mistaken which home was his.
The sheriff's department said the gun that the homeowner used, a .40-caliber pistol, appears to be legally owned.
According to the sheriff's department, the homeowner had come to investigate the alarm when he encountered someone on the stairs leading to the second floor . The homeowner "gave verbal warnings and discharged the firearm as a warning," according to a statement issued by the sheriff's department Thursday afternoon.
But the teen continued up the stairwell and into a hallway. The homeowner shot at the teen, and struck him once in the left shoulder as he passed the homeowner in the hallway and walked toward an upstairs bedroom that was occupied by other residents of the home. They will not close their investigation until the final medical examiner's report is complete.
The sheriff's office say they are conducting a separate investigation on how Gordley obtained alcohol.
Gordley, a junior at Park View High School, died at the scene. He was a three-sport athlete and an aspiring rap artist.
Gordley's parents have said they do not blame the homeowner.
"I want you to know, sir, I forgive you," said Jennea Gordley, Caleb's mother, on Tuesday. "I understand this was an accident. I truly believe everything happens for a reason. My son, he's an angel."
They said Gordley had snuck out of the house to attend a party.
"I love my son," said Shawn Gordley, surrounded by family outside their home. "I don't have many tears left."
"Whether he gave a warning shot or yelled at him, I'm pretty sure Caleb thought it was me yelling at him," Shawn Gordley said. "He kept walking toward what he thought was his room, because the houses are identical."
Shawn Gordley said he won't dwell on the neighbor's actions.
"You want answers, but the more I looked for answers, the more it hurt,” he said. “All the answers in the world aren't going to bring him back."