INVESTIGATION INTO TRAGIC ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF 12-YEAR-OLD BOY CONCLUDED WITHOUT CHARGES

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UPDATE: 2/26/2021 1:33 p.m.

The Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office and the Swatara Township Police Department have concluded their investigation into the shooting death of a 12-year-old boy in his home in Swatara Township.  The death resulted from an accidental discharge of a revolver held by his 10-year-old brother.  District Attorney Fran Chardo announced that no charges would be filed in the case.

On Saint Valentine’s Day morning, the parents went to brunch leaving the two brothers at home.  The brothers were of sufficient maturity that they could be left at home without supervision.  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 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.  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.  Several did not stop.  Jeree Clark of Harrisburg drove by 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, Ms. Clark accompanied the 10-year-old into the house to render aid to the wounded boy.  During this entire time, Ms. Clark continued to provide information to the dispatcher until emergency responders arrived.  The District Attorney will more fully recognize Ms. Clark for her extraordinary response to a tragic situation at a future date.

The actions of the 10-year-old boy were entirely accidental.  In addition, the District Attorney determined that the 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.  Given the awful loss that this family has already endured, even if a prima facie case existed, criminal prosecution is not in the public interest.

District Attorney Chardo thanked the Swatara Township Police Department for its swift and comprehensive investigation of the case.  In particular, Detective Ryan Gartland and Lieutenant Tim Shatto performed exceptional service.  Chief Deputy District Attorney Jack Canavan worked closely with the Swatara Township Police Department during the comprehensive investigation. 

UPDATE:  02/15/2021   11:50 a.m.

The injured child remains in critical condition and the investigation continues at this time. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available. 

On Sunday, February 14, 2021 at 12:03 p.m., Swatara Police and Life Team EMS units were dispatched to the 2900 block of Sycamore Street for a reported accidental shooting.  Swatara officers began arriving on scene at 12:05 p.m. and found that a 12 year old child had suffered a gunshot injury to the head.  Officers began providing immediate emergency medical care to the child who was transported to the Penn State M.S. Hershey Medical Center for treatment.  

The investigation into this incident is ongoing, all persons involved have been identified and are cooperating with the investigating officers and there is no danger to the public.  The Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office is assisting in this investigation.   

Date: 
Sunday, February 14, 2021 - 3:00pm

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