No charges will be laid after a 10-year-old accidentally kills his brother with a gun: DA
10 year old boy playing with a gun accidentally shot his older brother in the head on Valentine’s Day resulting in the death of the 12-year-old boy on Thursday, the district attorney’s office announced Friday.
The office said in a statement released Friday afternoon that they had completed their investigation and concluded there would be no criminal charges.
Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo gave this account of the shooting, which occurred just after noon on February 14 in the 2900 block of Sycamore Street:
The parents left their two sons home alone to attend brunch.
“The brothers were mature enough that they could be left at home unattended,” Chardo said.
The boys were playing video games, then the younger one found a single-action revolver hidden on the top shelf of his parent’s bedroom closet. The gun did not fit in the parents’ safe because of the length of the barrel.
All the other guns in the house were secured in the safe or with locks except for this gun, Chardo said.
The boy pointed the gun at his brother.
“Their intention was to play like they did in the video game,” Chardo said. “He accidentally fired the gun hitting his brother in the head.”
The 10-year-old then ran outside in the snow without shoes for help. He tried to flag down several motorists who did not stop.
But Harrisburg’s Jeree Clark saw the boy and stopped to ask what was wrong. The boy replied that he needed help because he had shot his brother.
Clark called 911 and secured his own child in his car, then entered the house with the 10-year-old boy to try and help the injured boy.
“Throughout this time, Ms. Clark continued to provide information to the dispatcher until emergency responders arrived,” Chardo said. “The District Attorney will more fully recognize Ms. Clark for her extraordinary response to a tragic situation at a future date.”
The investigation concluded that the 10-year-old’s actions were entirely accidental, Chardo said.
Further, the district attorney determined that the parents had educated their children on gun safety and attempted to secure deadly weapons in the home.
“Tragically, the gun that caused the death was not secured the same way other guns are,” Chardo said. “Given the terrible loss this family has already suffered, even if there was prima facie evidence, criminal prosecution is not in the public interest.”
Chardo said Detective Ryan Gartland of Swatara Township and Lt. Tim Shatto rendered exceptional services in the investigation and Deputy Chief Prosecutor Jack Canavan worked closely with the Swatara Township Police Department in during the in-depth investigation.