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Kaiden Vague

Age 16

Santa Barbara, California

Sixteenth birthday. Golden birthday. Last birthday.

“[He] lived his life to the fullest,” said Gwen Stephens, his behavioral therapist.

A sophomore at Dos Pueblos High School, he worked with his family’s nonprofit Softin Inc., offering seafaring opportunities for people in need. Full of humor, adventure and kind-heartedness, he saw his autism as a chance to raise awareness for the disabled community.

But on Feb. 15, he suffered an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound at the Glass Factory shooting range in Santa Barbara, California. Kaiden Vague died the next day, Feb. 16, 2018. It was his 16th birthday.

By Isabel Hadly · Age 18
Meet the Reporters

More than 30 adventurers

Alisia JaNell Williams

She made her dolls happy, too

Angel Medina

He hoped to see the world

Miguel Angel Luciano

Thankful for what his parents gave

Branden Patten

Only two brothers came back home

Brandon Blair Wareham

His life was still in construction

Teunté Lewis Rice

His shirts and life cropped short

Colton J. Jensen

He planned to ride the rodeo

Elias Knapp

Dirtbiking, skipping stones, loving his girlfriend

Trevor Alston McClements

Two weeks into his future, gone

Gage Allan Kiser

He will never meet his child

Nathan Isaiah Hurtado

Tragic end for a happy kid

Christopher Don Nelson

Small-town boy, fisherman and hunter

Rene Emilio Gonzalez

Once a Titan, always a Titan

Giacomo James Shields

He came with mom, neither left

Meadow Jade Pollack

An unapologetic, adventurous princess in pink

Justin Lewis Maness

A rising freshman, downed by gun

Jerimiah Xavier Hernandez

Teen cared about his friends, family

Benjamin Michael Workman-Greco

He’ll never get to marry Reagan

Keyaris Samuels

The box had a gun inside

Ibn Hatcher Downey

He was fashionable, friendly and family-oriented