PARENTS OF 12-YEAR-OLD SPARKS MIDDLE SCHOOL SHOOTER FACE POTENTIAL CRIMINAL CHARGES
On Monday October 21, 2013, a twelve-year-old seventh grade student at Sparks Middle School, in Sparks, Nevada, took a Rugger 9mm semi-automatic gun to school and killed a teacher, shot two students and then killed himself. Sparks Deputy Chief told reporters his investigators believe the 12 -year- old obtained the semi-automatic handgun from his home. The decision to prosecute will be left to the local prosecutor.
On March 24, 1998, eleven-year-old Andrew Golden and thirteen-year-old Mitchell Johnson ambushed teachers and students from nearby trees as students were exiting Westside Middle School in Craighead County, Arkansas. The boys set off a fake fire alarm to cause the teachers and students to exit the school buildings. They shot thirty rounds in rapid succession killing a teacher, four students and injuring nine other students. Three handguns were obtained from the Golden’s residence and an additional four handguns and three rifles came from Golden’s grandfather’s residence. Andrew Golden shared his family’s interest in firearms by competing and winning marksmanship awards. Unknown to his family, he reportedly demonstrated violence by firing his BB gun at animals and other children.
On February 2, 1996, Barry Dale Loukaitis, a fourteen-year-old student at Frontier Middle School in Worthington, Washington, took guns to school and killed his algebra teacher and two students. He had armed himself with his father’s 30/30 lever-action rifle, a .22 revolver and a .25 semiautomatic pistol. He strapped to his chest and waist three belts of additional ammunition and packed a speed loader for the revolver. Over this arsenal he wore a long black trench coat with the inside pocket removed so that he could carry the rifle unseen. He held his classmates hostage for ten minutes before a gym coach subdued him.
On June 4, 2013, in San Diego, California, Todd Francis was arrested and charged with manslaughter, child endangerment, and criminal storage of a firearm. He hid his Sig-Sauer 9mm handgun in the garage. His children were playing in the garage with a ten-year-old neighbor boy. The neighbor boy was shot and killed by one of Todd’s children using his gun. Another man in San Diego was recently charged with and prosecuted for leaving his .22 rifle accessible to his teenage son. The son and two of his friends were playing with it at one of the other boys’ homes when one of the boys was shot and killed.
A criminal defendant can be held responsible for any restitution costs for medical care, funeral expenses, and time off from work. A civil suit for damages could be filed as well. The greatest damage is the loss of life to others and to your own family member. These young shooters are facing life imprisonment. The damage to others is irreversible.
WHAT CAN PARENTS DO?
1. Secure all weapons in a locked gun safe with only the parent having the access key. Make sure it is teenager or kid proof;
2. Impress upon your children they are not to play with firearms or dangerous weapons or devices at your home or at a neighbors home. Take the time to have them read or, better yet, read and discuss with them some of the blogs and articles on the tragedies inflicted on families and others for the criminal use and misuse of guns and dangerous weapons