Family of 7-Year-Old Connor Bartlett: 'He Could Light Up 1,000 R - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Family of 7-Year-Old Connor Bartlett: 'He Could Light Up 1,000 Rooms'

COUER D'ALENE, Idaho - It's an unthinkable ending for a local family on a hunting trip in North Idaho. Seven-year-old Connor Bartlett was killed when his father's rifle suddenly discharged this weekend.

Connor had accompanied his dad, and the rest of the family, on a hunting trip near Harrison Saturday.

At the end of the hunting trip, Kootenai County Sheriff's Department (KCSD) officials said Connor's dad, 46-year-old Robert Bartlett, was putting the rifle away in his car in the 4600 block of Sunset Drive off of Highway 97 when the rifle suddenly discharged. Connor was inside the car and was struck by a bullet from that rifle.

Emergency crews rushed Connor to the O'Gara Road Fire station where Northwest Medstar personnel landed but it was too late. Officials at KCSD said Connor had died.

The Sheriff's Department is currently conducting an investigation into several details of the case including if there was a malfunction with the rifle. Officials there said they'll forward the findings of their investigation to the Kootenai County prosecutors office.

KHQ spoke briefly to Robert, as well as the family attorney, who both described Connor as a boy with a very bright smile and who could "light up a thousand rooms."

Family chose not to make a statement on camera but wanted to make sure Connor's story was told, including the many memories they shared with him and the many lives he touched.

"He was vibrant, always exuding life. The zest of life in that child is incomprehensible," Samantha White said, a close family friend of the Bartlett's.

White's son met Connor at school, at Skyway Elementary in Coeur d'Alene, last year. The pair became fast friends going on trips to Silverwood Theme Park and playing "cops and robbers" in White's garage.

"They became inseparable from the time they said hello," White said. "I'm proud to be able to say that I loved him as if he was one of my own boys."

Robert said the second grader was a dreamer and an artist. He loved his birthday, Halloween, and Christmas and Robert said he spoke of those holidays often. Connor especially loved pirates, his favorite costume.

"The way he played, whether he was Captain Hook or pirates or anything, he was that part. He loved to play," White said.

Connor was also immensely thoughtful, often making drawings for White's son and leaving them on her doorstep.

He was a boy with a big smile and an ever bigger heart.

"His zest for life," White said."I mean, just for everything that he ever did, he had so much energy and put so much of himself into his friendships, into his play-acting, just going and being with his family. He was 110 percent in."

There already been an outpouring of support for this family including from Texas Roadhouse, a restaurant in Coeur d'Alene, that the family said offered to cater a meal for them. The Bartlett's said they are incredibly grateful for the restaurant's generosity.

A memorial service for Connor will take place Wednesday night. It is private ceremony for the family. Mother: Connor leaves behind his mom and dad, sister and brother.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made out to the Connor Bartlett Memorial at any Wells Fargo Bank.

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