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Names released in fatal shooting in Freeman

FREEMAN -- The Freeman Public School District is working with extra guidance counselors to console students and staff who knew the 8-year-old who died of a gunshot wound Tuesday.

Sean Hofer, 8, and his brother, Dakota, 9, were playing with a revolver in their home Tuesday, according to the Hutchinson County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Dakota Hofer accidentally discharged the gun, which fatally wounded Sean Hofer.

Parents of the children are Samuel and Christy Hofer.

Originally, Hutchinson County State’s Attorney Glenn Roth said Tuesday the victim was 7 years old. A press release from Roth Wednesday states Sean Hofer’s age as 8.

The press release further states no more information will be released by law enforcement or the state’s attorney’s office, citing the family’s privacy and that it is a juvenile matter.

Freeman Public School Superintendent Don Hotchkiss received a call Tuesday evening about the accidental shooting. He quickly got a hold of as many staff and parents after he was informed.

Though the details were sketchy Tuesday evening, it was confirmed the victim was a student at Freeman Public School, he said.

“We called as many of the first- through third-grade parents last night as we could,” he said Wednesday in an interview with The Daily Republic. “We also talked to our staff this morning.”

The district has a crisis management plan in place for incidents like this, he added. The entire school was notified about the shooting Wednesday morning.

Though no general assembly was called, extra guidance counselors were on hand at the school Wednesday and will remain on campus as long as they’re needed, Hotchkiss said.

Funeral services for Sean Hofer will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Hutterthal Mennonite Church, rural Freeman. Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, also at the church.