Tristan Fenton was an avid skateboarder and “mama’s boy” with an infectious smile and laugh, a family spokeswoman said Wednesday.
Tristan was killed by a bullet when his best friend accidentally shot off a gun, said Tristan’s cousin, Sidney Fenton. David Provencio, 18, is charged with involuntary manslaughter; authorities say he aimed a Glock handgun that he thought was empty at his friend’s head, and pulled the trigger.
Sidney Fenton told the Statesman that Tristan’s family still loves and stands by Provencio, who had been living with the Fentons for the past year in their home on East Franklin Road. He is now in the Ada County Jail on $500,000 bond.
“Accidents happen, and we could never shove him away because of a mistake ... even a mistake that took the life of someone we love,” Sidney Fenton said.
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But mostly she talked about Tristan, “a person that everybody loved. He had a beautiful soul and a heart as big as the universe.”
“If you really got to talk to him you’d see a smile you’d never forget,” she said.
Tristan “packed his skateboard everywhere he went,” his cousin said. And he was very close to his single mother, Chris Fenton.
“Tristan was a big-time mama’s boy,” Sidney Fenton said. “Big-time: ‘Mom this, Mom that, Mom, I love you.’ ”
Tristan grew up in the house on East Franklin with his mom, older sister Taylor and little brother Ty.
Taylor Smith had a son, Lorenzo, in May, and Tristan doted on his infant nephew, Sidney said.
She said the family has been troubled by some of the reporting and rumors about Tristan’s shooting, including intimations that the family initially tried to represent his death as a suicide and a report that the shooting happened during a party.
At the time the gun went off — about 9:30 p.m. Saturday — Tristan’s mother and older sister were watching a movie in the living room, and Tristan, Provencio and two other friends were upstairs “kinda hanging out, being stupid boys,” Sidney Fenton said.
At Provencio’s arraignment Monday, a deputy prosecutor said the teens were drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana before Tristan was shot. Provencio and others at the house initially said the victim shot himself, the prosecutor said.
If convicted, Provencio could face up to 10 years in prison on the manslaughter charge and an additional 15 years for use of a deadly weapon.
Sidney Fenton said Provencio was Tristan’s “go-to guy,” and the two were basically inseparable.
“The biggest thing that people aren’t realizing is that Chris not only lost her son but also lost someone who had been like a son to her,” Sidney Fenton said.