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4-Year-Old 'Pulled the Trigger and the Bullet Came Out'

11 June 2013   Sgt. Brandon Bonney
Review of shooting death with additional details

On Friday June 7, 2013 at approximately 1236 P.M. Prescott Valley Police responded to 3124 Truwood Dr. for shots fired/shooting.  The reporting party told dispatchers that a man in his 30’s had been shot and sustained a gunshot wound to the chest.

That victim, 34 year old Justin Stanfield Thomas of Phoenix, was transported to the Yavapai Regional Medical Center East Campus where he was sadly pronounced dead. 

Investigators interviewed three adults who were in the residence at the time of the shooting.  It appears that the victim, Thomas, was up from Phoenix for visit.  Investigators learned Thomas sent a text to the resident, 26 year old James Williams, that he was coming up.  Williams never got the text as he was asleep and read it later in the presence of investigators.  Thomas was possibly picking up some personal property from the residence.

Thomas had his four year old son with him.  It appears that Thomas and his son were in the residence for a short time, approximately 10 minutes or less.  An adult friend was in the living room with Thomas and his son.  The four year old found a loaded .380 cal handgun on a T.V. stand.  The adult male witness in the room reported he heard the four year old ask his dad “what is this” then heard the shot.  The witness said Thomas grabbed his chest and told him to call 911, then collapsed.  Williams heard the shot and went into the living room.  He called 911 to get help.  Williams was in his bedroom when the shot was fired.  Dispatch personnel assisted the occupants of the residence with CPR until emergency personnel arrived and took over care.

The four year old told investigators that he found the gun under the T.V.  The child also told investigators that he “pulled the trigger and the bullet came out”, and also stated that his “Daddy got blood on him”.  Investigators don’t believe, based on the child’s statements that he has ever fired a weapon before.

Investigators are still waiting for an examination from the Medical Examiner’s Office to formally conclude this case.