Tags: 4-year-old | shoots | kills | dad

4-Year-Old Shoots, Kills Dad, a Special Forces Iraq War Veteran

Monday, 10 Jun 2013 10:44 AM

By Megan Anderle

A 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his father, an Iraq War veteran, while the two were visiting a friend in Phoenix, Arizona.

Prescott Valley police say Justin Stanfield Thomas was killed just after noon on Friday at the friend's house.

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Police say the boy somehow found a gun in the home's living room and accidentally fired it and a bullet hit his father. The father, hit in the torso, was rushed to a hospital with life threatening injuries, where he died.

Thomas' friend, who was the only other person at home at the time, was not involved in the shooting and has been cleared from suspicion. He was a former roommate of Thomas. Thomas and his son were visiting after driving up from Phoenix.

MyFoxPhoenix.com reported the visit was unexpected, which might be why a gun had been left out.

Moments after arriving at the home, the boy picked up the small-caliber handgun and asked his father and other adults in the room what it was he was holding, Bonney said. Seconds later he pulled the trigger.

"This appears to be an accident. There was no conflict in the stories of those in the house," Prescott Valley Police spokesperson Brandon Bonney told CNN.

The boy was taken to a police substation for interviews and did not appear to realize what he did. He is now with his mother.

"At this point there is no indication of any foul play," Bonney told MyFoxPhoenix.com. "But again once investigators go through the residence... and fully process it they'll look and see if there's any negligence involved... but it's something we won't know for some time now."

Investigators served the search warrant Friday night. More information will be released once all evidence is collected from the scene and an autopsy can be performed.

The veteran was formerly a member of the Army Special Forces. He leaves behind two children.

Bonney urged gun owners to safely stow their firearms if a child is visiting.

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"We want to remind people without making a villain of this person, that if a child is visiting your home, the first thing to do would be put the firearm away," he told CNN.

No charges were anticipated because the incident was an accident, Bonney told CNN.

Related stories:

Father Kills Self, Son, Wounds Estranged Wife in Pennsylvania


Boy Killed By Dad's Plow Truck While Clearing Family Driveway


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