More than two months after an accidental shooting that injured a toddler near Middleton, Canyon County Prosecutor Bryan Taylor announced Friday that no criminal charges will be filed in connection with the case.
On April 22, in the 25000 block of Middleton Road north of the city, a 10-month-old boy and his 3-year-old sister were left alone in the family car parked outside their home while their mother went back inside for a moment. The little girl found a loaded handgun in the car and accidentally discharged it.
The bullet hit the boy in the cheek. He was treated for injuries that were not life-threatening and released from St. Luke's in Boise. He is expected to make a full recovery. However, the boy's family said he will likely need facial scar treatment and minor reconstructive surgery.
So why was the gun in the car in the first place? Here's what investigators said happened:
The boy's father, who has a concealed-weapons permit, put the gun under a seat a few days before the shooting happened. He told investigators he and his wife were heading to an event at Expo Idaho on April 20 and that he left his handgun in the family car to avoid carrying it inside the building. The dad said he forgot to take the gun out of the car.
Taylor explained the potential difficulties in prosecuting the father - and said what it what have taken to do so.
The charge of felony injury to a child would have been nearly impossible to prove in this case based on Idaho statute, which requires proof that the action of the defendant(s) was willful and intentional, Taylor said in a press release. The father in this instance made the mistake of leaving a loaded handgun in the car. It was a costly mistake, and nearly a deadly one, but it was not something he did willfully or intentionally. Had the child died, and thankfully he didnt, a charge of involuntary manslaughter would have probably been pursued.
And as he did after the shooting, Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue used the case as an example of what not to do with firearms.
This was a terrifying event, but it was also a preventable one, Donahue said. The father is a longtime gun owner and has undergone proper firearms training, but he still made the mistake of leaving his gun in an unsecured place. This serves as a good reminder to all gun owners that their firearms need to be locked in a safe place away from the reach of children.