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Too Young to Die: Matthew Schreckengaust

The nine-year-old dreamed of playing professional football for the Steelers.

While pitching a recreational baseball game, Matthew Schreckengaust wanted to quit. He had smashed his finger and said he would never pitch again. His mother persuaded him to persevere. He played the sport for three years, most recently for the R&L Auto Service team. He looked forward to playing football this fall to start working toward his dream of joining the Steelers. If that didn't come true, he could always--like his father, grandparents, and uncles--be a dedicated Pittsburgh fan.

Matthew, who enjoyed math, was nine years old and set to enter the fourth grade this fall at Garfield Academy in his hometown of Canton, Ohio. He collected pro-wrestling figurines and photographs of his father, who lives about an hour from Canton. The only son, he had two younger sisters. "He was protective of them like any older brother," his mother, Rosa Royale, told msnbc. "But he also got tired of dealing with them."

Matthew was shot and killed in Minerva, Ohio, on June 21 while he and his older cousin were examining a gun they didn't know was loaded. The investigation is ongoing.

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