The Schaeffer shooting

October 14, 2009

I know many of you who read this are not from New York, and perhaps the news has not reached you that there was a shooting on Saturday in our tiny town.

At 3:00 pm on Saturday afternoon, sweet boyfriend was at a wedding, and I was playing volleyball with my family. My little brothers were with me, laughing and trash talking. Older brother was on his way to Oklahoma with some friends, and, while keeping an eye on Sam playing in the dirt and Max drumming on an Indian drum a cousin brought, I thought everyone I loved was safe.

Minutes later, someone was yelling for me. I ducked to miss a ball, followed, and found my mother crying. She told me then that one of the little boys I knew and loved in Deposit was on life support.

Making it a thousand times worse, his own 12-year-old brother had accidentally shot him in the head with a 22 rifle.

Shattering all of our perfect worlds, my little nine-year-old friend died minutes later, leaving us hysterical, afraid and reminded that life, indeed, is short.

I wish you had known the Schaeffer boys. They were the wildest around, always causing trouble, making us laugh, making us worry - but always together. They stood a head taller than anyone else, and I remember them always asking their mom if some new mischief was okay, if a new crazy idea would be allowed. They kept us all on our toes.

Too young to afford to buy each other presents, the two had a tradition of sneaking their favorite toy under their brother's pillow for his birthday.

Hearing stories of my friend's brother, running yelling for his sibling, crying, turning - zombie-like - into a silent boy who does nothing but try to be perfect to make up for his fatal mistake, has kept me awake at night. It's reminded us all to assure each other of our love for one another. You never know, do you? You, too, could lose your best friend.

I've thought about the sacred value of life.

I've thought about a gracious God who gives us to one another, and lets us have time to live together, and enjoy one another, though He knows that we will hurt one another. I've pondered a God that lets our humanity run rampant, that lets us make fatal mistakes and yet remains big enough to give grace for the next step - and then the next... even in death.

To our great dismay, Saturday's news of a fatal accident had turned to reports of second degree murder by Sunday evening. The manner in which the shooting was carried out falls under criminal action. My little friend was put in a juvenile detention center today, and is soon to go before family court in Delaware County.

I know that our laws and procedures were laid out for our protection, and I don't fight that. I'm not one to buck justice, and I believe that a testimony to murder is a testimony to murder.

However, I believe that God, the great judge, looks at the heart. My friend's story is one of an accidental killing of a best friend, a epically foolish moment when he went to play Davie Crocket and got carried away, leaving him alone, incriminated and without defense.

Let's call a spade a spade. Murder is murder. Shooting a gun is shooting a gun. An exit wound is an exit wound.

But a mistake is a mistake, and an innocent heart is an innocent heart. A moment of foolishness is not a moment of malice.

And that, friends, is my response to local reporters turned gumshoe, seeking to get a byline rather than to tell someone's story.

For shame.



Jalon Ellis said...

this was very nice... You did an excellent job... I love you shanbles and wish you were here to help us get through this... I know with God's grace and mercy we will all be okay. and what makes all this harder is it's soo close to home. We love you shirley and dave and everything will work out... I know because the power of prayer works. I wish this would have never happened but God did this for a reason... I have really seen the community pull together. I've seen many people broken turning to the word of God. The town is all broken but they are all pulling together to help out this family...

bugs1671 said...

I want to help.. but I don't know how..

Jenifer Johnson said...

Shanley what a beautiful and heart felt tribute to Shirley, Dave, David, Daniel and all of their family and friends! God bless you for writing it! With God's help and will I know they will get through this! Not everyone knows what to say at this time, but they do want them to know they are loved and well supported!

April Smith Cannon said...

Thanks that was very well said. It is really sad when anyone gets killed but when its a child and its someone you know it really hits hard. The community needs to pull together and help instead of spreading rumors. It was an accident and leave it at that, innocent children playing. God Bless the family.

Amy Lester said...

Shanley This is beautiful. I wish you were here so I could hug you. You have put exactly what we are feeling into word <3 Amy Lester

Brenda Slavin RN said...

Although I don't know this family personally, I want to send out prayers of peace and love for a family that is experiencing the biggest heartache known to man. I am originally from Deposit and I know what this town is capable of. As a mother who has also lost a child, I pray the community comes together to love and support this family through this trajic time. I pray the justice system realizes this poor child has to live with this mistake for the rest of his life and that is worse than any punishment the law can offer. May peace and love surround the Schaeffer family...

Erin Macumber said...

You did a great job! i have known this family for a very long time, and i do in deed think that Dave and Shirley, did raise there boys correctly! There is nothing that they could have done better than what they had. they are wonderful parents! Accidents happen and life takes us in many different ways! this is how this story ended on this fatal night. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone that was involved in Daniels life! We must overcome and help Dave, Shirley, and David get through this, this is going to be a long and tough battle but we need to be there for them!

Margaret Blaho said...

I would like to add that there will be a silent candle light vigil tomorrow from 6:30 to 7:15 outside the First Baptist Church in Deposit tomorrow night during the calling hours. (the location was changed to accommodate the number of people expected to attend). We would like to gather as many families as possible We will provide candles to each person to stand in silence in support of the tragedy suffered by the family members from our community
Please note that this is being done from a community outreach perspective and all parents must take responsibility for their children if you wish to attend. Please note there will likely be a lot of traffic, etc. and utmost care and caution should be considered by all.
I am also wondering if there will be a collection or benefit for this family that does not have money for any of this, and the expenses will be high, and shouldn't even have to worry about them. Please let us know if/when anything is planned.
Thank you! God Bless!

Karen Frawley said...

Thank you Shanley, I could not have said it better. Love you all!

Amos said...


Im really sorry that this happened to such close friends of yours. Its bound to be a hard time for everyone and I just wanted to let you and your family and the victim's family that Im praying for you all you guys.

Your brother should have my phone number, call me if there is anything I can do from TMC.


Christina Wormuth said...

That was so Beautiful! The family Is in my thoughts and Prayers.. :(

Anonymous said...

I think that these words are wonderful.This is a terrible thing that happened so everyone needs to stick together and help there family get through this. I know her family personally and i know that Shirley was a great mom and would never let anything like this happen on purpose. My heart breaks for her and her family.I could not imagine nor do i want to know how it feels. God bless them and hopefully they can get through this ok.<3Budrick Family

scrapbookin said...

Very Well Written! I don't know this family, but I live in the area and my heart goes out to them. Will keep them in my prayers.