EUREKA — Authorities no longer are calling the death of Jacob R. Lee last weekend at a house near here a suicide.
Rather, Lincoln County Coroner Steve Schnackenberg said Tuesday that Lee died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. An investigation continues into whether his death was an accident.
Lee, 19, and Lorena Mocko, 16, of Fernie, British Columbia, both were found shot to death around 1 a.m. Saturday.
On Monday, Schnackenberg said that Lee committed suicide.
A friend of Mocko's family said Lee and Mocko were at a party when Lee shot himself, accidentally killing Mocko in the process. The bullet passed through Lee's head, striking Mocko in the chest, said Jeri Mitchell, a close friend of Mocko's mother.
Lincoln County sheriff's deputies have confirmed that report.
Witnesses said that shortly before the shooting, Lee was waving the gun around and was asked to put it away, Detective Darren Short said.
Short said that instead, Lee turned the gun on himself and pulled the trigger, by accident or otherwise.
Investigators are continuing to interview witnesses and hope to have a "manner of death" confirmed in coming days, Short said.
Lee's mother, Sheri Lee McClure, said she believes her son didn't know the gun was loaded, and his death was accidental. She said she wants others to learn from the tragedy.
"That needs to be known to every kid in Montana," McClure said. "Guns and alcohol do not mix, and you don't play with guns. I really want the message to go to the youth of Montana."
Services for Lee are scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday at the family's Spiritual Sky Ranch near Eureka. A memorial service for Mocko was scheduled for Wednesday at the Fernie Baptist Church.