Two boys, a giant slingshot, a tragic accident

  • Article by: EMMA L. CAREW , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 3, 2010 - 6:56 AM

A 12-year-old boy died after being struck by a 5-pound rock fired into the air at a Roseville park.

Carter Geyen

Two 12-year-old boys came to a Roseville park Sunday afternoon with a strip of elastic surgical tubing they stretched 8 feet between two poles to make a giant slingshot.

They launched at least a dozen rocks, a baseball and several chunks of concrete from the homemade device they cobbled together on a jungle gym at Bruce Russell Park on Roselawn Avenue, police said.

But a 5-pound rock that the boys shot skyward fell back on one of them, fatally injuring him.

Carter Geyen's aunt, Kelly McDyre, said Monday that "their lives have been shattered and their hearts are broken," referring to Carter's parents, Karolyn and Stephen Geyen of Roseville. They also have a 14-year-old son, Jacob.

McDyre described her nephew as a funny, active and gregarious "boy's boy" who loved any activity that involved running and playing. Carter was usually dirty from playing outside. "He'd try anything once," she said.

Police who arrived at the park about 3:30 p.m. tried to revive Carter, who was pronounced dead at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. "Based on the treating physician's assessment, Carter died instantly from blunt-force trauma to the heart," McDyre said.

The boys had threaded surgical tubing through a nylon fanny pack with holes cut inside, creating a sling, police said Monday. They attached their device between the poles on the playground climbing structure. The sling was about 9 feet above the ground. One boy stretched the contraption to the ground while the other boy, lying on the ground, released it.

McDyre said she didn't know anything about the device or where the boys might have found the materials to build it. "We're just dealing with the pain of his loss right now," she said.

Police counted about a dozen indentations in the ground on the playground where the objects landed. "This appears to be a tragic accident with no foul play suspected," Lt. Lorne Rosand said. He declined to say who notified police of the accident and how the boys procured the surgical tubing.

Tim Burd, who lives near the park, said he watched police and medics congregate Sunday around the playground equipment in the middle of the park. Police also interviewed children and adults at a nearby picnic table, he said. An officer told onlookers that a tragedy had occurred, Burd said.

Visitation for Carter will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Mueller-Bies Funeral Home in Roseville. His funeral will take place at 11 a.m. Thursday at Roseville Lutheran Church, 1214 W. Roselawn Av., Roseville.

Emma L. Carew • 651-735-9749 Paul Walsh contributed to this report.

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