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‘He was a great kid,’ superintendent says of student accused of killing his father

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    BURNSVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — The head of Yancey County Schools said the 12-year-old charged with first-degree murder in the death of his father was not a problem student.

Superintendent Kathy Amos said the boy, a sixth-grader at Cane River Middle School, was a good student without any discipline problems.

“No issues,” Amos said. “He was a great kid.”

Amos learned the student had been charged with shooting and killing his 37-year-old father, Vernal Kilburn, when Chief Deputy Shane Hilliard called her Monday night.

“It is very hard when you’re dealing with something that’s so very hard to understand,” Amos said.

School counselors were available Tuesday at the middle school for any student grappling with the unfolding news about their friend, who is accused of killing his father.

“Listening to teachers this morning, knowing he was a good classmate and a good friend to many. He loved reading, loved helping others,” Amos said.

Investigators said they recovered a rifle in the trailer where the family lived. They believe it was the gun the 12-year-old fired. No details have been released on what detectives think may have led to the shooting.

Investigators said another boy was in the home. He was a relative of the 12-year-old but not a sibling, authorities said. The child wasn’t hurt. The 12-year-old was taken into custody about 6 p.m. Monday soon after the shooting.

The boy was taken to a juvenile jail and awaits his initial court appearance.

“Again, for the whole sixth-grade team, it’s very upsetting,” Amos said.

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