CONNOQUENESSING TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – Family, friends and community members are in mourning following an argument and shooting that claimed the life of a 19-year-old in Butler County Friday evening.

State police in Butler County have charged the victim’s 76-year-old grandfather, Larry Karnes, with criminal homicide in connection with the fatal shooting in Connoquenessing Township.

As nightfall turned to daylight in the 100-block of Sunset Drive Saturday, the shooting death of 19-year-old Austin Riddell was just starting to sink in around the community.

“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life,” said a friend of Riddell’s who did not what to be identified. “You just sit there and you can’t think of anything, and like one second I’m fine and the next it’s like just hard.”

Riddell’s friend and neighbor has known him since childhood. She says what’s even more devastating is the person accused of pulling the trigger is Riddell’s grandfather.

“He’s not a bad guy at all,” she said. “I mean, nobody every suspected anything like it but he just snapped.”

State police say Karnes and Riddell got into an argument in the living room of the home they share with Riddell’s grandmother. It was right before 5 p.m. Friday when the shooting happened.

Riddell was wounded in the chest by a .22-caliber rifle.

“He was just a baby,” Riddell’s long-time friend said. “I mean, he was only 19.”

Now, as Karnes sits behind bars in the Butler County Prison without bond those who consider Riddell like a brother continue to mourn.

“He was funny,” she added. “He was great, you could be with him for two seconds, five minutes, five hours and you were a complete different person.”

Family and friends say they plan to hold a memorial in Riddell’s memory in the near future.

Victim, Suspect Identified In Connoquenessing Fatal Shooting (9/29/12)
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