Charges weighed in death of boy, 12 |

Charges weighed in death of boy, 12

Greg Masse
Post Independent Staff

Charges still could be filed against the boy who authorities said accidentally shot and killed Nick Jones, 12, of Battlement Mesa on Friday, Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said Monday.

But Vallario said it’s unlikely charges will be filed against the boy’s parents, who were not home at the time of the shooting.

Vallario met with attorneys in the Ninth District Attorney’s office for about an hour Monday to determine if any charges will be filed against the 12-year-old who allegedly shot Jones. Police have not released the suspect’s identity.

Before a final ruling is made on whether to press charges, Vallario said, deputies will reinterview the shooter and the other 12-year-old present when the shooting occurred.

He said in order to charge anyone with a crime – either the boy or his parents – the DA’s office would need to determine whether the shooting or the placement of the rifle and ammunition was intentional, reckless, careless or negligent.

“There’s a variety of things we looked at,” Vallario said of his meeting with the DA’s office. “I’m hoping one way or the other, we have a decision this week.”

Leaving a loaded handgun on a kitchen table would be an example of negligence by an adult, Vallario said.

But in this case, a .22-caliber rifle was used in the shooting, and the parents of the shooter made a “reasonable effort” to keep the rifle and ammunition separated, Vallario said.

Neither the rifle nor the ammunition were locked up, Vallario added.

Meanwhile, Battlement Mesa school officials will plan how to handle the tragedy at the boys’ school, Bea Underwood Elementary.

Bob Korver, the principal of St. John Middle School, said he, Bea Underwood Elementary principal Larry Brady and school counselors will meet Wednesday to discuss the plan. Battlement Mesa students are on spring break this week and will return Monday.

The shooting occurred around 11 a.m. Friday in Battlement Mesa, an unincorporated community in Garfield County just south of Parachute.

Jones was taken to Clagett Memorial Hospital in Rifle, where he was pronounced dead at 12:14 p.m. (See obituary, page 7.)

Preliminary autopsy results showed the upper-torso gunshot wound was the cause of death, but final results will not be available for days or weeks, Vallario said.

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511

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