(CO) Dad dies teaching son about guns


March 6, 2003, 07:32 PM
Dad dies teaching son about guns

By John C. Ensslin, Rocky Mountain News
March 6, 2003

A Lakewood man was shot to death Wednesday while he was trying to teach his 13-year-son to handle a gun safely.

The boy had the gun and didn't realize it was loaded, police said.

His two younger sisters, ages 7 and 9, were in the room and watched as the handgun discharged, hitting their father in the head, Lakewood police spokeswoman Stacie Oulton said.

The 36-year-old father was declared dead at St. Anthony Central Hospital.

The children are with their mother, who was not home at the time of the shooting, Oulton said.

The shooting happened about 4 p.m. in the 100 block of South Kendall Street.

"The (911) call apparently came in from the 13-year-old," Oulton said.

Police withheld the name of the family because of the boy's age.

Neighbors were stunned when they learned of the shooting.

Teri Moore watched as the boy and his two sisters left the home with police officers.

"It was very difficult. You could just see it on his face."

Moore described her block as part of a tightly knit neighborhood where people know one another. Moore's friend said called it a "Norman Rockwell neighborhood" because everyone talks to one another.

Now that neighborhood is sharing in the pain.

"We're just feeling very strongly for the children," Moore said.

Down the block, neighbor Michael O'Kelly said his children and the victim's children are friends.

"That's sad," O'Kelly said of the accident. "The father was trying to do the right thing, and the wrong thing happened."

O'Kelly said he is a gun owner, although he does not have any guns now because his children are ages 7 and 4.

But when they grow older, he expects to show them how to handle a gun safely, much as his father and great-uncle did with him.

Oulton said police recovered several guns from the victim's home.

The family stayed elsewhere Wednesday night.

"We do have our victim advocates working with them," she said.

Oulton said police generally advise that gun-safety classes with qualified instructors are the best and safest way to educate children on handling firearms.


I know, I know ..... the gun didn't just 'discharge', the trigger was pulled somehow, someway... but I can't help but feel sorry for these kids. They had to see this happen. It just ain't right...

3 more added to the 'Guns Are Evil' ranks.

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March 6, 2003, 07:37 PM
Really sad for those kids! :(

All the safety rules apply ALL the time! :banghead:

Navy joe
March 6, 2003, 07:43 PM
The logic we fight from helpful neighbor:

O'Kelly said he is a gun owner, although he does not have any guns now because his children are ages 7 and 4.

In English: Hey, I've got two precious kids and there is no way in the world that I would want to have the means to defend them available.

March 6, 2003, 07:49 PM
that would be really awful thing for those kids to see.it will stick in their minds forever.very sad.

March 6, 2003, 08:09 PM
No, not "qualified instructors", not teachers, not elected, appointed or unionized bureaucrats of any kind.


March 6, 2003, 08:12 PM
That's very sad.:( Why he handed a loaded gun to his son is what I'll wonder about.:confused:

On a different note, how can the neighbor be a "gunowner" if he doesn't own any guns?:banghead:

March 6, 2003, 08:14 PM
treat EVERY gun as if it were loaded.

March 6, 2003, 08:15 PM
Guns are one of the things in life where you do NOT do things in an unsafe manner to show an example of what might happen if you don't do this or that. :rolleyes:

Just sad...


March 6, 2003, 08:25 PM
Talk about an idiot. :fire:

El Tejon
March 6, 2003, 08:40 PM
Not "treat". "Treat" implies that the weapon is not loaded. The weapon is loaded ALWAYS.

Too bad Dad did not teach his son the 4 Rules. He would be alive if he did. The Four Rules are life.

March 6, 2003, 08:41 PM
Sad, tragic ........ and AVOIDABLE ............. this kid has lost his Dad, not so much because of his negligence (he was being taught) but that guy's own negligence ... he in effect killed himself thru incompetence. I don't say that as a callous statement ... just that the sad event was so unneccessary.

As said and we all know (or should) ANY and EVERY gun is loaded ... at any time ... until proven otherwise ... and then double checked ... again. Even the ''pre-training'' of ''never point at what you don't wanna hit'' would have averted this.

I said in another thread ... or ''admitted'' would be more accurate .. i have had two A/d's ..... or shall I call em N/D's (negligent!?) ... but in each case other safety drills meant they were harmless (other than to my pride).

With my own kids years ago .... and last Sunday with my step son and his buddy ... I went thru much ''empty gun'' drill before any ammo was even in the picture.

The first thing I teach always is ''NO muzzle sweep'' ..... to make the point re pointing safe only ... that is to #1 because all other possible accidents can then only happen without harm to life.

Second will be the finger off trigger until required and third will be the reminder to treat as always loaded.

By the time we reached the range, they had handled (checked for empty twice by self and demonstrated same) ..... all the handguns ...... and become at least initially familiar with basic functions .... only when I was satisfied at that did we even consider live fire.

That then was done with full alertness and renminders on all points. These things are not ''accidents'' ... they are the result of negligence and carelessness ..... which cost lives.

I ramble .... but this is not only a family tragedy but more ''ammo'' in the damn Brady camp too!!!!:(

March 6, 2003, 09:16 PM
The first thing I taught my kids, when they got old enough to handle guns, is that all guns are always loaded. That includes any gun that someone else hands them (even me!) -- if they haven't checked the chamber themselves, the gun is loaded.

What happened to this family is really inexcusable.

On a plus side, the kids are never going to forget the lesson. :(



What people commonly call fate is mostly their own stupidity. -- Arthur Schopenhauer

Standing Wolf
March 6, 2003, 09:25 PM
Right idea. Wrong method.

March 7, 2003, 12:07 AM
The guy should have signed himself and his children into an NRA certified class.

March 7, 2003, 10:05 AM
Sad. The 4 rules were not followed but, Pax I see NO! plus side? Plus side??????????

Carlos Cabeza
March 7, 2003, 10:18 AM
Very sad........ But during training exercizes one should never use a hot weapon.

March 7, 2003, 10:39 AM

It was sardonic.


March 7, 2003, 11:12 AM
It is sad and no doubt horrifying for the kids. But I think the unwritten rule 0.5 for training young kids to handle guns properly is regardless of rule number 1, don't hand a child a loaded gun to teach them about proper gun handling. Not much of a safety net.


4v50 Gary
March 7, 2003, 11:20 AM
Ditto Standing Wolf.

March 7, 2003, 01:01 PM
All critical and valid comments aside, my heart goes out to this family. What a horrible, horrible mistake.

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