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Snowball fight between 2 boys leads to fatal blow, murder charge

It began with two 13-year-old boys slinging snowballs at one another and calling each other names.

What seemed like an innocent boyhood encounter changed when Sean Gutschall and Kaymone Johnson met the next afternoon. This time, the boys got into a fight while walking home after school.Gutschall, a skinny, blond-haired seventh-grader, died hours later from a brain hemorrhage that police said stemmed from the fight. Johnson, 4-foot-10 and weighing 70 pounds, is now accused of murdering his Gaskill Middle School classmate. He was in custody Friday.

"How many times have you seen two kids fight?" Police Capt. Louis Curcione asked. "I went to Gaskill. I walked the same way home. I've thrown snowballs. I've had fights. And when they're over with, you go on. You don't expect something like this."

Gutschall was a newspaper carrier who played in the school band and participated in youth bowling, baseball and roller-hockey leagues. Johnson spent much of his time riding his bicycle with friends.

After the fight Tuesday, the boys went their separate ways. Gutschall began experiencing severe headaches at home and died after 2 1/2 hours of surgery. The coroner, James Joyce, said the punch caused the hemorrhage. Police said Gutschall was struck in the right temple.

"It just doesn't make sense," Sean's father, Thomas Gutschall, told The Buffalo News. "I've been through it 100 times. I have moments when I feel he's still with me."

Curcione said police were planning to charge Johnson with assault until Gutschall's death led to the adult murder charge.