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String of accidental shooting deaths of young children in Colorado highlight importance of secure gun storage

Molly Burke, The Denver Post on

Published in News & Features

Parents should also consider checking with other families before sending their children into another home, to make sure any guns are stored safely, McCarron said.

The first in the recent spate of child firearm deaths occurred April 10, when 6-year-old Roy Summers died after an accidental self-inflicted shooting in Fort Collins.

Authorities responded to a call just before 6:30 p.m. saying that a child in a home in the 1200 block of East Lincoln Avenue had shot himself, police said in a news release. Police and emergency responders found the child with injuries consistent with a gunshot wound and transported him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Following an investigation, Fort Collins police learned that the boy’s mother, Rosinetta Mackall, 40, had taken the handgun that the 6-year-old shot himself with out earlier in the day. She is accused of leaving the unsecured weapon in an area her children had frequent access to, police said.

Summers is believed to have grabbed the gun and accidentally shot himself hours afterward, police said.

Ron Matthews, Mackall’s husband, was not present at the home or living there at the time of the accident, but police alleged Matthews “lied and tampered with evidence of their conversation” when he was questioned about his interactions with Mackall surrounding the incident.

Mackall has been charged with felony child abuse and misdemeanor unlawful storage of a firearm and Matthews has been charged with felony attempt to influence a public servant and misdemeanor tampering with physical evidence. They turned themselves in to authorities on April 25.

 

Another child, a 3-year-old boy, was also killed by an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound in Denver last month.

The child was brought to a hospital in a private vehicle around 5:20 p.m. on April 17 with a gunshot wound and died five days later on April 22.

The shooting happened in a parked car in the 1700 block of South Pecos Street, police said.

Arrest warrants were issued for the parents, Celina Duran, 39, and Manuel Lopez, 34, on suspicion of child abuse – negligently causing death, according to a police news release.

The Denver District Attorney’s Office, however, concluded there was not enough evidence to successfully prosecute the parents, and declined to file charges, spokeswoman Carolyn Tyler confirmed Thursday.

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