Teen dies in accidental firearm discharge outside Presidio

15-year-old Payton Pesina died on a family hunting trip to Presidio County on Sunday. Photo courtesy of The Monahans News.

PRESIDIO COUNTY — On Sunday morning, the Presidio County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call for emergency assistance from “a well-known hunting area” along Highway 67 between Presidio and Shafter, after a 15-year-old male shot himself in the chest while preparing rifles for the day’s activities. 

Payton Pesina, a student at Grandfalls-Royalty ISD 20 miles south of Monahans, was on his family’s annual hunting trip to Presidio County when the accident occurred. With an escort from the sheriff’s department, family members loaded Pesina into a private vehicle and drove toward the hospital. 

Marfa EMS met the family on their way to Alpine, where Payton was pronounced dead on arrival at the Big Bend Regional Medical Center. 

The Grandfalls-Royalty ISD page posted a tribute on their Facebook page in response to Pesina’s tragic death. “His warmth, kindness and bright spirit touched the lives of many in our community,” they wrote. 

Around 500 accidental gun deaths occur in the United States every year, the majority in males between the ages of 10-29. Hunting accidents account for around 14% of these deaths. 

PCSO Deputy Joel Nuñez said that his department had responded to accidental firearm accidents before, but this one had been particularly difficult for him to deal with. “It was a tragic and heartbreaking accident,” he said. 

Nuñez stressed proper firearms safety and training as a means of prevention. “Tragedies can happen in an instant, and it is important to teach our children how to handle weapons safely if they will be using them,” he said. “The responsibility of holding a loaded weapon is immense and should not be taken lightly.