DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. — The Dauphin County District Attorney's Office announced Friday that no charges would be filed in the death of a 12-year-old Swatara Township boy who was shot accidentally by his 10-year-old brother on Feb. 14.
Investigators with the DA's office and Swatara Township Police determined that the 10-year-old was holding a revolver that discharged accidentally, striking the victim in the head.
The decision was announced by District Attorney Fran Chardo in a press release.
The investigation determined the following:
- On the morning of Feb. 14, the boys' parents left them at home while they went to brunch. The boys "were of sufficient maturity" to be left without supervision, Chardo said.
- All of the guns in the home were secured in a safe or with gun locks except for one revolver. The parents kept this single action revolver hidden in the top shelf of the bedroom closet. It would not fit in the gun safe because of the length of the barrel.
- After spending some time playing video games, the boys went into their parents’ bedroom. The ten-year-old boy took the revolver from the top shelf and pointed it at his brother. His intention was to play as they had been doing in the video game, according to investigators.
- He accidentally fired the weapon striking his brother in the head.
- The ten-year-old ran then outside to get help.
- The boy tried to flag down passing motorists, but several did not stop.
- Jeree Clark of Harrisburg drove with her with her child in the car when she saw the 10-year-old flagging her down. After she stopped to ask what was wrong, he asked for help because he had shot his brother.
- After calling 911 and making sure her own child was safe in her car, Clark accompanied the 10-year-old into the house to render aid to the wounded boy.
- During this entire time, Clark continued to provide information to the dispatcher until emergency responders arrived.
Chardo said the actions of the 10-year-old boy were entirely accidental. In addition, he said, the boys' parents instructed their children on gun safety and attempted to secure the deadly weapons in the home.
"Tragically, the revolver that caused the death was not secured in the same manner as the other firearms," Chardo said. "Given the awful loss that this family has already endured, criminal prosecution is not in the public interest."
Chardo thanked the Swatara Township Police Department for its swift and comprehensive investigation of the case.