A four-year old boy in Arizona today accidentally shot his own father, who had served in the Iraq War, to death. The child and his father, an Army Special Forces veteran, went to visit the father’s former roommate, unannounced. Minutes after arriving, the boy found a gun in the living room, and accidentally shot his father.
“Police have identified the victim as 35-year-old Justin Stanfield Thomas of Phoenix, a military veteran who served in the Army Special Forces,” AZ Family reports:
Detectives say he and his son were from Phoenix and they were visiting a friend at that home. The boy found a gun in the living room and accidentally shot his father.
“I really can’t believe this happened,” said Jeremy Hartt, a neighbor and friend of everyone involved. “It’s tragic, that poor little boy.”
Hartt said he didn’t hear the gunshot but saw the aftermath. He said the friend Thomas was visiting is also a military veteran who keeps a loaded gun for protection.
“Apparently when Justin and his little boy showed up, within minutes, the little boy found the gun and said, ‘hey, daddy, what’s this?’ and it went off,” Hartt said.
“He didn’t know what was going on; he was just a happy little boy,” said Hartt.
Police say it’s believed the visit was unannounced, which may explain why the gun was not secured with a child in the house.
“I don’t know that this individual had time to do so, but it certainly needs to be at the forefront of anybody’s mind if they have a firearm and a child comes in,” said Sgt. Brandon Bonney of Prescott Valley Police. “It needs to be priority number one to secure those weapons.”
Police are still investigating, but call this a tragic accident.
Our thoughts are with the Thomas family.
Image and video via KSAZ
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