Authorities are continuing to investigate the death of a 14-year-old boy after he was shot by an Ashland County sheriff's deputy on the Bad River Reservation on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the teen's family and community were mourning and looking for answers about what led to the shooting the day before.
Family members told WDIO-TV the boy was Jason Ike Pero. Jason's mother, Holly Gauthier, told WDIO that Jason "was a big teddy bear," and "everybody loved him," adding that there is "no reason you can justify shooting a 14-year-old boy." She said the family would seek justice for Jason.
The boy's grandfather, Alan Pero, told WDIO that doctors said his grandson was shot twice: once in the shoulder and once in the heart. He said Jason was out sick from school the day of the shooting.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation reported Thursday that it is "continuing to collect evidence and determine the facts of this incident and will turn over investigative reports to the Ashland County District Attorney's Office when the investigation concludes."
The Ashland County Sheriff's Office has been fully cooperating with the department during the investigation, the DOJ said in a statement Thursday, and the department is in contact with the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa to keep community members informed, the statement said.
The Ashland County Sheriff's Office had previously reported that it received a 911 call at 11:40 a.m. Wednesday that a male was walking around Maple Street in Odanah carrying a knife. Shots were fired by a responding deputy at 11:48 a.m., striking the male, according to the Sheriff's Office. Jason was later pronounced dead at Memorial Medical Center in Ashland. State officials said Thursday that a knife was found at the scene.
State investigators' goal is to turn over reports to a prosecutor within 30 days of the incident.
Jason was a student at Ashland Middle School, and Ashland Schools Superintendent Keith Hilts told Wisconsin Public Radio that about 70 students were absent Thursday - about 30 percent of the school. The school was providing counseling to students.
Hilts said Jason had a good sense of humor and was a drummer in the school band. The superintendent told Wisconsin Public Radio that there was "a lot of sorrow, a lot of fear that a fellow 14-year-old child could die. There was some anger that this happened."
A candlelight vigil to honor Jason was held Wednesday night on the Bad River Reservation, the Ashland Daily Press reported. Another vigil was scheduled to take place Thursday night at the Minneapolis American Indian Center.