Family provides update on Evansville juvenile who was shot in the head

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Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 6:20 PM CST
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Family members describe Landon Heck as a normal, happy-go-lucky 15-year-old who loves basketball and has a big heart.

Since he was young, he’s been close with his grandparents, which is what makes a phone call like the one Dena and Tim Rowans received that much harder to fathom.

“It’s been hard. I mean, you hear about shootings every day. You see kids every day, and you hope you don’t never get a call like I got,” says Dena, “it happened, and I got that call, and we’re just going day by day.”

On Friday afternoon, his grandparents say Landon was hanging out with his cousin and two friends at North Park apartments in Evansville.

According to Evansville Police, they say one of the kids had found a gun, was playing with it, and accidentally shot Landon.

“His mother was working, and it was actually Landon’s cousin that called,” says Dena.

“She was screaming,” recalls Tim, “she thought he was dead.”

Tim and Dena drove straight to the apartments, only a couple of minutes away, just to try and see Landon.

They remember not knowing what to expect.

“I couldn’t breathe,” says Dena, “I mean I literally could not breathe.”

They just knew they had to get there, even if to their dismay, they weren’t going to be able to get close to Landon, check on him, or even ride in the ambulance with him.

“I just wanted to let him know that I was there, just to touch his hand or whatever,” says Dena.

“I actually walked up to the ambulance when they put him in there, and I was right there at the side door, and I could see blood,” says Tim.

The Rowans say Landon had been shot right beside the eye, and the bullet had gone downward and exited.

He was rushed to Deaconess, where he was ultimately life-flighted to Indianapolis.

That’s where he is now, and his family says, he’s hanging on.

Dena says while things have been looking up a bit, they aren’t out of the woods yet. She’s hoping that by sharing his story, there might not be another family who has to be in the position they are now.

“If it makes the slightest little bit of change about ‘hey, you know, we don’t need this,’ or ‘we don’t need to be playing around with this,’ then I’ll be happy with that,” says Dena.

The Rowans tell 14 News that Landon has been responding to physical stimulus when they touch his arms and legs, and even opened his eyes briefly, but the road still looks long.

They say the first surgery to stop the brain bleed was successful, but there are still bullet fragments in his brain, and right now he’s battling pneumonia, a fever, and a blood clot.

The Rowans also say doctors have told them that Landon will have permanent hearing loss in his right ear from the gunshot.

They say they’re grateful for all of the community response and outreach in their time of need.

According to EPD, the investigation into this shooting is still ongoing, but it has been ruled accidental.

Newscast recording

Here is the 911 call placed by the Rowans.