3-year-old Steamboat officer’s son among 4 accidental child shootings in Colorado from 2014 to 2016 | SteamboatToday.com

3-year-old Steamboat officer’s son among 4 accidental child shootings in Colorado from 2014 to 2016

Routt County Sheriff's Office officials investigate at a home in the Stagecoach area where a Steamboat Springs police officer's 3-year-old son was killed after a gun accidentally went off in July 2016.
Matt Stensland/File

Colorado recorded four accidental shootings involving children under 12 from 2014 through 2016, including two that resulted in charges being filed.

Nationwide, there were 152 accidents in which children under age 12 either killed themselves or were mistakenly shot and killed by another child.

Research by the USA TODAY Network and The Associated Press found that about half of those deaths led to a criminal charge, usually against adults who police and prosecutors say should have watched the children more closely or secured their guns more carefully. The rest of the time, officials decided the grown-ups had broken no laws.

Twenty-one states, including Colorado, have enacted laws allowing prosecutors to bring charges against adults who fail to safely store their loaded guns, especially when they are obtained by minors and used to harm.

Colorado law stipulates that a person commits a felony if he or she intentionally, knowingly or recklessly provides a handgun to any person under age 18.

Here’s a look at the Colorado cases:


A man and his girlfriend have been charged in the death of her 2-year-old son last November in Park County. The boy died from a shotgun blast. The case remains in the courts. The two were initially charged with several felony counts, including reckless or knowing child abuse resulting in death and negligent child abuse resulting in death. Police say loaded weapons were found within easy reach of children in the home. The initial investigation indicated that the shotgun may have fallen from a rack and discharged, killing the child.


An Aurora teen received two years of probation for negligent child abuse resulting in death and juvenile in possession of a handgun in the June 2016 accidental shooting death of his 10-year-old brother. The shooting occurred in the family’s apartment after the teen retrieved and started handling a loaded handgun. A toy gun was found next to the younger brother.


The 3-year-old son of a Steamboat Springs police officer was shot in the master bedroom of his parents’ home on July 14, 2016, when his mother was upstairs and his father was outside. Michael Stiles told investigators his son, Gavin Stiles, could’ve climbed on furniture to access a bag in the closet that contained the police department-issued weapon. The department requires officers to keep firearms locked and secured in a way “that will keep them inaccessible to children.” A grand jury declined to indict the boy’s parents.


A 9-year-old boy was accidentally shot in the head in Trinidad while he and his 8-year-old brother were waiting in a parked car on Jan. 4, 2016. Investigators say the two boys were in the care of a family friend because their parents had a medical appointment. The car the boys were in was parked near a natural gas station where the caregiver works. No charges were filed.

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