Family Of Teen Killed In Home Invasion Speaks To Media | News
STERLING, Va. (WUSA9) - One night - one mistake - has changed a Sterling family forever.
"My son is gone. Nothing will bring him back. My son is gone!" said Jennea Gordley, the mother of 16-year-old Caleb Gordley who was shot and killed early Sunday after entering a neighbor's house that he thought was his own.
On Tuesday, the Gordley family spoke to the media for the first time to set the record straight about their son and about what happened.
"He snuck out of the house because he knew I wasn't going to let him go out that night," said Shawn Gordley, Caleb's father.
The three-sport athlete and aspiring musician went to a party less than a mile away where he and his friends were drinking.
"He never drank," said Caleb's father. "I'm not saying that to say he's a perfect child. He had tried it in the past and didn't like it."
Caleb's father says his son tried to sneak back in around 2AM by jumping the fence into the backyard and slipping inside through an open window. But the problem was, it was the wrong house. Caleb's house, which looks very similar from the backyard, was two doors down.
"He crawled through a window, clearly inebriated, and stumbled up the stairs that look identical to our stairs," said Caleb's father. "Whether the person fired a warning shot or just yelled at him, I'm pretty certain Caleb thought it was me yelling at him."
In reality, the person yelling was a neighbor who thought Caleb was a burglar. The man, whose identity still hasn't been released, shot Caleb and killed him.
"I just want you to know sir that I forgive you. I understand that this was an accident," said Caleb's mother.
While the Gordley family isn't angry with the man who shot they're son, they are upset with the Loudon County Sheriff's Office. They had to wait until Tuesday afternoon, two whole days after the shooting, to see Caleb's body.
"I feel like we were robbed of the opportunity of even identifying his body," said Caleb's mother.
The Gordley family also complained about a lack of communication with the Sheriff's Office.
"More details have been told to me over social media and through their website than they have told us directly. I think that is extremely irresponsible and unacceptable," said Caleb's father.
Tuesday afternoon, Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman paid a personal visit to the Gordley home before holding his first press conference since the shooting.
"This is a tragic situation all the way around. My heart really goes out to the parents of Caleb," said Sheriff Chapman.
The Sheriff attributes the communication delay to the warp speed of social media.
"We have to make sure we get our information and facts correct. It would be irresponsible for us to release anything that's not verified," said Sheriff Chapman.
As for the delay in seeing Caleb's body, the Sheriff says, "I'm in discussions with my investigative bureau right now to determine why there was not that opportunity before the body was taken to the medical examiner."
Most of what happened early Sunday is still under investigation, and no charges have been filed against the person that pulled the trigger.
"You want answers, but the more I look for answers the more it hurts. All the answers in the world are not going to bring my son back," said Caleb's father.
The Gordley family is now taking comfort in Caleb's passion... his music. Caleb, who's alias was Prince George for the county in which he grew up, had set up a studio in his bedroom and left behind a binder full of handwritten lyrics.
"He did what he loved every single day. He ate and slept music," said Jennea Gordley. "I raised him to be passionate about what he does. That's exactly what he did and that's how he went out and I'm learning to be okay with that."
"We got sixteen awesome years out of this young man. We could have had none. I will be holding on to those sixteen years," said Shawn Gordley.