(Photo via Boston.com)
The police chief in Danville, New Hampshire was cited Friday with improperly storing his service firearm after a 15-year-old used it to commit suicide, CNN reports.
Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams claims Police Chief Wade Parsons left his firearm on top of the safe in his closet, and his girlfriend's son used it to kill himself on March 11 after Parsons left to run some errands.
"New Hampshire has a specific statute that requires when people own firearms that's they make sure that children can't gain access to those firearms,'' Reams said. "That's the statute we are alleging was violated on March 11 in Danville.''
"It is my hope that out of this tragedy will come increased awareness by gun owners that they are responsible for the way they store their weapons," Reams told reporters Friday, according to Boston.com.
One local resident described Parsons as "the nicest guy you'll ever find," and another said it would be "a lot different" if the weapon had been "out in the open" and an 8-year-old stumbled upon it.
"This was not the case. This was the case of a person that was looking to do harm to themselves, and that was just one means of making it happen," he added.
And according to reports, there was no indication that the 15-year-old was thinking of taking his own life. Reams said there was "no clear explanation" for his decision.
A court date has not yet been set, according to Boston.com, but the charge carries a maximum fine of $1,000. Since Parsons is an elected official, it would take a felony conviction to see him dismissed from office.
"Nobody feels worse about this than the police chief," Reams reportedly said. "But I hope it's a reminder to people in New Hampshire to make sure that children don't have unsupervised access to firearms. That's the statement our legislature has made. We expect people to live up to it."
WMUR/CNN has more on the story: