No charges will be filed against the parents of the 5 year old boy who fired a pistol, narrowly missing an Aberdeen man, on June 1.
Hoquiam City Attorney Steve Johnson tells KXRO that “After careful review of the evidence and discussions with investigating officers and the Chief of the Hoquiam Police Department, I have decided not to file charges against the parents of the five-year old boy who discharged a firearm towards an adult male in Hoquiam, on June 1. The basis of my decision is my belief that the City of Hoquiam could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the parents committed a crime under existing Washington laws.”
Johnson cited “Rule 3.8 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers” in a release that says:
“The prosecutor in a criminal case shall:
“(a) Refrain from prosecuting a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause.”
Johnson says that after reviewing the evidence, he was not convinced that a charge of reckless endangerment would be supported by probable cause.
He said “Even if it were, Rule 3.8 merely sets forth minimum standards of conduct for prosecutors. In my view, a prosecutor would be remiss in bringing a criminal charge against a suspect which is supported by probable cause, but which is not supported by sufficient evidence to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Johnson said that the statute that defines reckless endangerment does not include leaving a gun in a location where a person should reasonably know that a child could gain access to it.
Johnson said, despite no charges against the adults, “I would like to make it perfectly clear that my review of the evidence leads me to conclude that the parents were negligent in their handling of the firearm in question, and everyone involved is very fortunate that no one was killed or seriously injured, including their own children. Hopefully, this will serve as a learning experience.”