Parents of 11-year-old killed by assault rifle on Big Island sue Boy Scouts of America
Big Island resident Manuel “Manny” Carvalho of Hilo was an avid tennis player and a longtime Cub Scout. At age 11, he had just begun 6th grade at Waiakea Intermediate School.
He also was old enough to attend Boy Scouts of America events. His first was at Camp Honokāia near Honoka‘a on Sunday, Aug. 31, 2022. It also was his last.
Manny died while seated in a chair later that day, when a bullet accidentally fired from an AK-47 assault rifle penetrated the back of his head.
This is a portrait of Manny and his killing, as described in a complaint filed on Jan. 17 in third-circuit court on Hawai‘i Island by Manny’s surviving family. The lawsuit names as defendants: the Boy Scouts of America and the Boy Scouts of America Aloha Council, and a Honolulu-based group that oversees Scouting in the State of Hawai‘i, the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Manny’s family – which includes parents Dave and Michele Carvalho of Hilo and five older siblings – is a close one, according to the complaint.
“[W]ith the death of Manny, an integral part of their Ohana has been torn away,” the document reads. “The Carvalhos get together regularly, attending family gatherings, dinners, holidays, school functions, sports activities, and special events, and all family members deeply love and rely upon one another. Manny was a huge part of every aspect of the Carvalho family, and his loss is immeasurable.”
The suit hits the Boy Scouts with counts of negligence and gross negligence, wrongful death and premises liability.
According to the Carvalho estate’s complaint, Manny was killed at a “Troop 19 Family Fun Day” compete with ice cream, pizza and firearms. One father is alleged to have arrived to the event with 11 or 12 weapons, including an AK-47, an AR-15, an M-4 carbine, four shotguns and four Glock pistols of two different calibers.
A 10-year-old child picked up the AK-47, which did not have a magazine clip inserted, according to the complaint. However, a bullet was still loaded in the gun’s chamber – and when the child set the AK-47 back down, the gun fired, killing Manny.
The suit also alleges the Aloha Council failed to enforce a ban on human-shaped targets and zombie targets. Images of both, alleged taken at Camp Honokāia, were included in the complaint.
The Boy Scouts of America Aloha Council did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment on this story.
The Boy Scouts of America spoke to the media immediately following Manny’s death last year.
In September 2022, Big Island Now reported Hawai‘i police were screening three men for firearm offenses following Manny’s accidental death.