Friends: Teen didn't think gun was loaded

By Susan Jacobson | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted October 29, 2001

KISSIMMEE -- Family and friends were grieving Sunday for a teenager who accidentally shot and killed himself while showing off a handgun to two friends. Jady Donawa, 18, was playing with the .40-caliber pistol while his landlord's two teenage children watched, and he inadvertently shot himself in the neck, they told investigators

"He didn't think it was loaded," Osceola County sheriff's Lt. July Rivers said. The accident happened at 287 Satinwood Circle in the Buenaventura Lakes community a little after 9:30 p.m. Saturday, deputies said.

Marie Jilo, who rented a room to Donawa, said her 16-year-old son, Josue "Josh" and 17-year-old daughter, Cherlin, were in the garage of the two-story house with Donawa when he began waving the gun around.

Then he put the weapon to his neck, pointing upward, they told her. "He said, 'Cherlin, look,' " said Jilo's 19-year-old son, Joseph Charles, who was sleeping when the shooting happened.

"No, Jady, no," she replied, according to her brother. But it was too late. Detectives are trying to find out who owned the gun. It had been in the garage for about a week, hidden in a punching bag, family members said they found out after the shooting.

Donawa, a Gateway High School dropout, had recently lost his job making deliveries for a hardware store, Jilo said. Even so, deputies and friends ruled out the possibility of suicide. Donawa didn't let much get him down, said Cyndee Cobb, 17, who met him when they were in grade school.

"He had a good heart," she said. "He was a good person."

Donawa's parents, Joseph and Ursula, were too upset to comment. Dozens of friends and family visited their Buenaventura Lakes home Sunday to comfort them. Susan Jacobson can be reached at 407-931-5946 or Copyright © 2001, Orlando Sentinel

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