Hunter Pedersen, 10, was afraid of sharks. But he didn't let his fear prevent him from fishing with his father.
Robert Pedersen continually assured his son that sharks didn't lurk in the water where they swam and fished. But one afternoon, after casting from the boardwalk, Hunter caught a small shark. "And he said, 'You're such a liar!'" his father recalled to msnbc. Despite his horror, though, Hunter was proud of his treasure. He continued to walk into the ocean with hesitance, though, and always scanned his surroundings as a precautionary measure. He also still watched "Shark Week" on the Discovery Channel.
Together, Hunter and his father rooted for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The popular fifth-grader played football and basketball for his school, located near his hometown of White Mills, Pennsylvania.
Hunter traveled twice each summer to visit his paternal grandmother, who lives near the beach in Ocean City, New Jersey. He rode the waves on his Boogie Board, pedaled his bicycle around the neighborhoods, and ate funnel cakes on the boardwalk.
Every year, Hunter celebrated his August birthday with at least a dozen of his family members at Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. He just recently began to ride the big, wooden roller coasters with his parents, a choice that took a few years for him to make.
Hunter was the middle child, the only boy of two sisters. "They had their arguments," his grandmother, Linda Honickel, told msnbc. "But they got along well."
"He felt his little sister got away with everything, of course, but he always had his little sister with him," his father added. "He always took her everywhere he went."
Hunter was fatally shot in the head accidentally by his uncle on May 3, 2014, at his maternal grandmother's home in New Jersey.