Eureka Springs student dies in accidental shooting

Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Nathan Howton

The Eureka Springs School District is mourning after a student died in an accidental shooting over the weekend.

Superintendent Bryan Pruitt confirmed that junior Nathan Howton was killed in the shooting. Pruitt said Howton was part of the Connect 4 program, so he spent half of each school day at Eureka Springs High School and the other half at the Connect 4 building in Berryville. Grief counselors are available to help students struggling with Howton’s death, Pruitt said.

“We’re trying to be as normal as possible, but we’re giving the kids any kind of break they need,” Pruitt said. “If they need to just sit and talk with a group, or even with an individual counselor, we’re arranging that for them.”

Students who choose to stay in the classroom, Pruitt said, are given the same consideration.

“Teachers are not going to make things too hard or difficult today,” Pruitt said. “We’re going to try to get back into things as we can while respecting the situation that’s happened.”

Pruitt said Howton’s mother and grandmother worked at the school district, and his sister attends the middle school.

“He was very well-known, very liked and not only did the kids know him, but they knew his family as well,” Pruitt said.

According to a post on the Berryville School District’s Facebook page, the district is sending condolences and prayers for the families and friends hurting in Eureka Springs and other school districts.

“Nathan was a student at our C4 campus,” the post reads. “High School counselors are on hand to visit with students who are affected by this in our district.”

Pruitt said he’s not sure about when services will be held. The district will keep moving forward, Pruitt said, while keeping Howton’s memory in mind.

“We’re doing the best we can,” Pruitt said. “Our prayers and support are out for the family and we want nothing but comfort and understanding for them.”

Maj. Jerry Williams, chief deputy for the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, said an investigation was ongoing Monday but that all signs indicated the shooting was accidental. Williams said the sheriff’s office would release a statement after its investigation is concluded.

Information for this report was contributed by managing editor Scott Loftis.

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