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SMF Cyndi
Posted 2006-03-22 8:59 AM (#1212)
Subject: 15-Year-Old Killed When Sword Falls Off Wall
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Location: Graveyard BLVD.
I just got done reading this story, so very sad. I saw a post on Wed13 website that read:

Condolences 3.10.06

"Wednesday 13 was deeply saddened to find out about the tragic passing of one of his fans, Josh Hershberger. To the Hershberger family, we are extremely sorry for your loss. Out thoughts are with you."

15-Year-Old Killed When Sword Falls Off Wall
Posted March 07, 2006 at 12:47 AM


BRANDON - Josh Hershberger spent the last moments of his life in the same light-hearted, fun-loving way he spent many other moments of his life, having fun with his little brother and sister.

The 15-year-old Brandon High School sophomore was doing something many kids do from time to time, ignoring the age-old warning not to play ball in the house, investigators say.

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Debbie Carter said the teen was sitting on his bedroom floor Monday night with his 14-year-old brother. Their sister, who is 9, was on a bed, and a big rubber ball they were playing with bounced off the wall and knocked down a gothic-style ornamental sword that was mounted there, sheriff’s officials said.

The weapon cut into Josh’s neck and shoulder. He was rushed to Brandon Regional Hospital but later was pronounced dead.

A family member answered the door at Josh’s home Tuesday but declined to comment. Relatives elsewhere shared their grief.

Josh’s uncle, Harold Hershberger, of West Virginia, said the teen was friendlier than most.

“With all the things you hear about teenagers now, he was just a good kid,’’ Hershberger said. “He was fun-loving and outgoing.’’

Classmates and school staff chose words like funny, soft-spoken and smart.

“It really hurt a lot of people,’’ sophomore Evelyn Akins said. “It’s something you’ll never forget.’’

Brandon High students filed into classes Tuesday for a series of exams. After the first session, they heard about Josh’s death in an intercom announcement by Principal Leslie Granich.

By mid-morning, a group of art students went outside to spray-paint a memorial sign on a large piece of cardboard.

Some classmates turned to a team of counselors who visited the school to help them with their grief, said crisis intervention team member Charles Jaksec.

He said Josh was extremely intelligent, friendly and popular.

“We lost a member of the Brandon High School family,’’ he said.

He said a somber mood of disbelief spread across campus and tears streamed down many faces.

“They ask “why?” But you can’t give an answer to how tragic that moment was,’’ Jaksec said.

Outside the classroom, Josh kept busy with youth league football, weightlifting, computers and video games, his uncle said. He also joined the Future Business Leaders of America, school officials said.

His dedication to his teammates on the Brandon Cowboys football team impressed Michelle Warf, concession manager at the Cowboys football field off Kingsway Road in Brandon. She said he was on the disabled list last season but never abandoned his teammates.

“He was injured most of the season, but he lead his team every game onto the field from the end zone - on crutches,’’ she said.

“His mom and dad were team mom and dad to our varsity football team and basically adopted the entire team into their family,’’ Warf said. “There is not a nicer, more caring family that this tragedy could have happened to.’’

WFLA News Channel 8 reporter Samara Sodos contributed to this report.

Reporter Mike Wells can be reached at (813) 657-4534.

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