12-Year-Old Boy Killed After Grenade Bought at North Carolina Antique Mall Explodes

A child from Virginia is dead after a World War II-era hand grenade believed to be inactive exploded, according to authorities.

The child was killed on Dec. 23 by a MK2 grenade that was likely purchased at the Fancy Flea Antique Mall in Shallotte, North Carolina, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) said in a press release.

The victim has since been identified as Asher Hurley, a 12-year-old boy from Abingdon, Virginia, by The New York Times.

Neither the vendor or the buyer believed the grenade was functioning at the time of sale, authorities said.

The Fancy Flea Antique Mall did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment, but they told The New York Times in a statement that "there was only one other grenade sold the next day by the same vendor," that the mall was "very sorry that this has occurred" and that "we all felt that the grenade was inert."

Upon further investigation, officials now believe other grenades were purchased from the same vendor in June 2020 and are now warning that those items "may contain live explosives and could be hazardous to the public."

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"ATF is asking for anyone who visited Shallotte, near the Ocean Isle Beach and Holden Beach area, and purchased an 'inert' grenade from the Fancy Flea Antique Mall in June 2020 to contact the Charlotte Field Division at 704-716-1800 or the Washington Field Division at 202-648-8010," the agency said in a statement.

Tracie Cooper, district administrator for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Virginia, said Hurley died as a result of penetrating injuries to the "head, torso and extremities," The Bristol Herald Courier reported.

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His manner of death was ruled as an accident, according to the newspaper, but that authorities are still investigating.

In his obituary, Hurley's father said the child died "in a terrible accident in our home."

"He was a tender-hearted boy who was a friend to everyone he met," the obituary read. "Asher was reserved, but loved to smile and laugh. His offbeat, quirky sense of humor touched everyone who knew him."

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