DENVER (AP) – A child was involved in an accidental shooting in Colorado eight times during a 2-and-a-half year span, an Associated Press review found.
The AP and the USA TODAY Network analyzed the circumstances of every death and injury across the nation from accidental shootings involving children ages 17 and younger from Jan. 1, 2014, to June 30 of this year — more than 1,000 incidents in all. Using information collected by the Gun Violence Archive, a nonpartisan research group, news reports and public sources, the media outlets found the deaths and injuries are happening at a pace that far exceeds the scope revealed by limited federal statistics.
Examining the issue state by state, Alaska and states in the Deep South rank far above the national per capita rate of just over three shootings per million people. Here’s a look at the cases found in Colorado:
LEARNED FROM VIDEO GAMES
A 5-year-old boy who shot and critically injured a 3-year-old girl in southern Colorado found the revolver in a backpack lying on a bedroom floor. The boy then pointed it at the girl and pulled the trigger, shooting her once in the chest, according to court records charging her mother’s boyfriend with child abuse for leaving the gun unattended before the Aug. 4, 2014 shooting.
A 9-year-old boy was also home at the time and had been playing with the gun in the backyard before the other boy fired. Police said the older boy knew how to handle the gun from playing video games.
CARRYING FOR PROTECTION
Multiple people were inside a Mesa County home on Nov. 16, 2014, smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol when a 15-year-old boy fatally shot another 15-year-old boy. Police said there was “no evidence of malicious intent” by the young shooter and called it “an isolated incident.” Investigators said the boy told them he carried the .22-caliber revolver for protection.
HUNTING GUN WENT OFF
A 16-year-old eastern Colorado high school student was killed Dec. 1, 2014, while sitting in a vehicle with three friends during lunch break. A shotgun used for hunting birds went off, killing Jaden Rahm, a sophomore. Police said his friends were not considered suspects and were not injured.
LOADED GUN IN THE CAR
A 9-year-old boy was critically injured when he and his 8-year-old brother found a loaded gun while waiting in parked car on Jan. 4, 2016 in Trinidad. The boys were in the care of a family friend because their parents had a medical appointment, police said. The car was parked near a gas station where the caregiver worked. He was working on a pump at the time of the shooting.
NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE
Prosecutors said there was not enough evidence to charge a 12-year-old boy who accidentally shot his friend in the head in Aurora, nor would they charge his father, who did not securely store the 9 mm handgun.
The 7-year-old boy was shot July 9, 2015, when six children ages 7 to 13 were in the home. The 12-year-old, who was home alone, showed the gun to the group, loaded it and passed it around, police said. The gun went off when the 12-year-old was trying to put it away.
The boy who was shot survived.
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