7News Exclusive: Altus teen's cousin describes fatal shooting

Altus_Last week, 7News told of how an Altus family began the Christmas holiday with a tragic death.  14 year old Malcolm Augustine was shot and killed on the day before Christmas Eve.  Augustine was coming out of his bathroom when a bullet hit him in the chest.  He was rushed to Jackson County Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Authorities have been investigating the case and haven't released the name of the shooter officially.  But, now, in an exclusive interview, his cousin, 15 year old Jauston Sanders, has come forward and admitted to what police are calling a tragic accident.

Sanders wants to set the record straight.  He says rumors are circulating about a fight between him and his cousin that led to the shooting - but, Sanders says that's simply not true.  "I know that people are hurting but for the rest of my life until they bury me, I gotta live with that image for the rest of my life.  When I go to sleep, when I wake up, I cannot get my little cousin out of my head," he says.

He admits he shot his 14 year old cousin in the chest, but he says it was all an accident.  He says he was just looking at his father's handgun.  "I went to go push up the safety and the gun went off," says Sanders.  "It didn't even feel like I shot the gun.  It felt like I was just playing with it.  And when I seen my cousin drop, I dropped the gun."

Augustine was rushed to the hospital, but it was too late.  He was gone.  "But I thought I would never take another persons life man, and I'm sorry for that," says Sanders.  "I know it was a big, big accident."

Investigators agree.  Altus Police Chief Mike Patterson says everyone was questioned the night of the shooting and all of their stories check out.  "An accident - a total, tragedy, but and accident," says Patterson.  "No premeditation, malice or forethought from anything we've heard."

Sanders says he and his cousin were very close and says now there's a split in the family.  "I'm sorry for his family, I'm very sorry, you know...it's crazy like I never meant to do that to hurt nobody...," Sanders says.  And he hopes they'll come back together.  "I hope one day they just going to forgive me, but until that day, I just keeping praying on them," he says.

Police are still investigating and the District Attorney still has not decided whether or not to press charges.  Funeral services for Malcolm Augustine will be this Saturday, December 29 at Kincannon Funeral Home in Altus.