Police are likely to press charges against the owner of a shotgun after a 10-year-old got hold of it and shot a teenage boy dead.
Michael Justin Voth died at around 7 p.m. on June 16 when the little boy, who hasn’t been named, accidentally discharged the shotgun, which had been left loaded and unsecured in the house.
First responders from the Jaffray Fire Department and B.C. Ambulance personnel arrived to the scene quickly, but Voth died shortly after.
There were no adults in the house at the time.
“There were five teenagers and a 10-year-old in the house at the time,” said Cpl. Chris Faulkner. “There was no evidence of any partying, drugs or alcohol.
“It appears to have been an accident, although I’m not sure it can be called an accident since the trigger was pulled and the gun did what it was supposed to do.
“But certainly the action was unintentional.”
Voth, from Fernie, was visiting his girlfriend, who lives in the house.
The 10-year-old will not be charged because under the Criminal Code of Canada a child under 12 cannot face criminal charges. His name will also not be released.
Police said they believe the incident was an accident but they are likely to charge the owner of the firearm.
Faulkner said the issue of unregistered and improperly stored firearms is a major problem.
“Firearms in a home are always supposed to be unloaded,” he said. “They must have a trigger lock or have the bolt removed, or they must be kept in locked storage that is difficult to break into.”