PD: 4-year-old accidentally shoots, kills father - WDAM.COM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

DEVELOPING

PD: 4-year-old accidentally shoots, kills father in Prescott Valley

Posted: Updated:
(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)
PRESCOTT VALLEY, AZ (CBS5) -

Prescott Valley police said a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his father around 12:30 p.m. Friday while they were at a friend's house.

They said 35-year-old Justin Stanfield Thomas and his son drove up from Phoenix for an unannounced visit to see his former roommate. 

Within minutes of being inside the home, the 4-year-old found a gun, picked it up and asked what it was.

It discharged - hitting his dad.

"He was still in his pajamas when all this happened," said Jeremy Hartt, the former roommate's next-door neighbor. "But I mean, he keeps a loaded gun for protection. He used to be a military police officer."

Thomas was taken to a Prescott-area hospital in extremely critical condition, where he died from his injuries.

Hartt, who also knew Thomas, told CBS5 News he was an Iraq War veteran and a former member of the Army's Green Beret - who loved his little boy.

"He was a great dad," said Hartt. "He was a great dad. But, he (Thomas' 4-year-old son) was a curious little boy. And, he (Thomas) turned around for one second, and that's when this incident happened – apparently it happened really fast."

Police said they are investigating Thomas' death as a homicide - as they do anytime someone dies of anything other than natural causes.

"At this point, it does appear that this is just a tragic accident from this child, and we will look to see if there's any negligence issues there," said Prescott Valley police Sgt. Brandon Bonney. "But, at this point, the information we have is it's just a tragic accident that was unforeseen."

Police said the 4-year-old is now in the care of his mother and doesn't seem to grasp that his father is gone.

Hartt also said Thomas had recently become a father for the second time with his current girlfriend.

 Stay with cbs5az.com for updates on this developing story.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. 

  • WDAM.com FeaturesMore>>

  • No charges expected in fatal shooting by AZ boy

    No charges expected in fatal shooting by AZ boy

    Monday, June 10 2013 12:32 PM EDT2013-06-10 16:32:28 GMT
    Justin ThomasJustin Thomas
    Authorities aren't expected to seek charges in the death of an Arizona man who was accidentally shot by his 4-year-old son. Justin Stanfield Thomas was fatally shot Friday after he and his son traveledMore >>
    Justin Stanfield Thomas was fatally shot Friday after he and his son traveled from Phoenix to a friend's home 90 miles away in the northern Arizona community of Prescott Valley for a surprise visit.More >>
  • LOCALLOCALMore>>

  • State auditor's office begins review of Hattiesburg audit

    State auditor's office begins review of Hattiesburg audit

    Monday, July 14 2014 6:46 PM EDT2014-07-14 22:46:49 GMT
    The state auditor's office has begun the process of reviewing the city of Hattiesburg's annual audit, according to spokesperson Brett Kittredge. "There were some serious findings, and that's why theyMore >>
    A letter dated July 11to auditor Stacey Pickering from council president Kim Bradley said the independent review was sought "to verify the audit findings and to determine whether the qualified opinions are merited."More >>
  • Southern Miss football at Conference USA media day

    Southern Miss football at Conference USA media day

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:11 PM EDT2014-07-24 03:11:13 GMT
    Members of the Southern Miss football program traveled to Irving, Texas this afternoon for Conference USA media day and the Golden Eagles had plenty to talk about. The first topic? What it felt like toMore >>
    Members of the Southern Miss football program traveled to Irving, Texas this afternoon for Conference USA media day and the Golden Eagles had plenty to talk about.More >>
  • Exploration Camp at William Carey draws 40 tweens, teens, and youngsters

    Exploration Camp at William Carey draws 40 tweens, teens, and youngsters

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 6:23 PM EDT2014-07-23 22:23:07 GMT
    No matter eight years old, or eighteen years old, there's a creative place to explore at William Carey University's Exploration Camp. The workshop encourages students to explore and develop their creativeMore >>
    No matter eight years old, or eighteen years old, there's a creative place to explore at William Carey University's Exploration Camp. The workshop encourages students to explore and develop their creativeMore >>