On Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at approximately 7:20 PM, Justin West, while sleeping at his residence in the 4400 block of North Romero Circle East in Prescott Valley, was shot in the back with a handgun by his 7 year old autistic son. At the time of the incident, the mother was sleeping in the living room, along with their other two sons, a 2yr old and 7yr old. A 13 year old son was in his room doing homework.
It is believed that the 7 year old autistic boy knew the gun was in a small locked safe in a closet and he knew where the keys were kept. The child moved a dining room chair to the closet in order to reach the safe. He removed the gun from the safe and shot his dad. He could not provide a reason for shooting his dad. The round went through the father’s upper chest and back, into the mattress, through the wall, skipping across the floor of the living room, and through an exterior wall. The single round fired did not damage anything or anyone outside of the residence.
The father was flown by Native Air to John C. Lincoln Hospital where he remains in ICU in stable condition. The incident is still under investigation.Gun safety can never be taken for granted. Even when we think we’ve secured our weapons, there is more to consider than just a weapon being locked up. The gun should also have a locking device on the gun itself. Gun locks are available at no cost to the public at the Prescott Valley Police Department front lobby.
Family training and guidelines cannot be over-emphasized. Never point a gun at any one. It's also never funny to say you have a gun or threaten to shoot someone. These words are taken seriously and the police may be called. These pranks don't end up being fun for anyone involved.
Prescott Valley Police Department can be contacted at (928) 772-9267 for non-emergencies, 911 for emergencies.