JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A young Onslow County man will serve some time for accidentally shooting and killing his friend.

It’s a story all too common for the US.

In a CDC report from February, 505 people died in 2013 in accidental shootings.

A not-for-profit gun violence archive reports 983 people were involved in accidental shootings this year alone.

Last year, 19-year-old Jacob Kohler, a former high school football player at white oak, became part of the statistics.

His family talked with WNCT about his friend being sentenced in his death.

“Jacob was such a good person; he was a friend to so many people, just a caring, loving, big teddy bear,” said Christina Kohler.

Jacob Kohler had high aspirations of joining law enforcement and a passion for serving others.

He also enjoyed guns and even worked at a local gun shop.

That was until about six months ago when Jacob’s friend, Victor Santana, began playing with one of Jacob’s guns at his home and accidentally shot Jacob in the stomach.

Jacob died after being taken to the hospital.

“I taught Jacob never point a fire arm at somebody even if you’re sure it’s unloaded, but I never did teach him don’t ever let somebody point a firearm at you and that’s what happened in this case,” said his father, Kevin Kohler.

For the Kohler’s, their son’s loss continues to be a struggle.

“My son being painted in a crime that was just senseless and needless and easily prevented, it’s heartbreaking,” Kevin Kohler said.

Which is why Jacob’s father addressed Santana in an Onslow County courtroom on Tuesday.

Cameras were not allowed for Santana’s sentencing after he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

While reading a two page letter, Kevin Kohler forgave the 20-year-old, even asking the judge to not sentence him to any jail time.

“I just wish people would take firearm safety real serious, our loss is our loss regardless of what victor loses.”

Santana spoke to Jacob’s family apologizing to them saying he failed them.

Santana will spend time in prison.

A judge sentenced him to serve 150 days.

He’ll be on probation following that, plus have to give ten speeches to high school students on his personal story and the danger of picking up firearms without proper training.


JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A young Onslow County man pleads guilty in the accidental shooting death of his friend.

20-year-old Victor Santana pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to involuntary manslaughter in an Onslow County courtroom.Jacksonville police charged Santana last November.

Prosecutors said Santana was in an apartment and saw a gun lying on blankets and didn’t think it was loaded. Santana pulled the trigger and shot 19-year-old Jacob Kohler in the stomach.

Kohler died at the hospital.

The plea agreement includes a potential split sentence and restitution for Kohler’s funeral costs.