9-Year-Old Accidentally Shot With James Howard's Gun Dies, No Charges Yet

The Shell station in Trinidad near where the shooting took place.
The Shell station in Trinidad near where the shooting took place.
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Update: Earlier this month, we told you the disturbing story of a Trinidad nine-year-old who was accidentally shot in the head with a gun he found in a car where he was waiting with his little brother for a family friend, James Howard.

Now, the worst case scenario has come to pass: The still-unidentified boy has died from his injuries.

In the meantime, authorities continue to grapple with the possibility of criminal charges in the case.

At 12:01 p.m. on Monday, January 4, as we previously reported, an emergency call was made in relation to an injury near a Sparq Natural Gas facility, located at a Shell gas station at 806 East Goddard Avenue in Trinidad.

Cops and personnel from the Trinidad Fire Department raced to the scene, where they discovered a nine-year-old boy who'd sustained a gunshot to the head.

Mt. San Rafael hospital in Trinidad.EXPAND
Mt. San Rafael hospital in Trinidad.

The boy was rushed to Mt. San Rafael hospital in Pueblo. He was subsequently transported via Flight for Life to Children's Hospital in Denver, where he underwent surgery. Afterward, his condition was listed as critical.

What happened? The nine-year-old and his eight-year-old brother were in the care of Howard, 63, while their parents attended to a medical appointment — and Howard, a Sparq employee, took the boys with him to the station, where he was working on a pump.

While waiting in his car for Howard to finish, the boys discovered a loaded gun inside the vehicle. As they handled the weapon, it fired, with the bullet striking the older of the brothers in the head.

According to the Pueblo Chieftain, the boy never responded to treatment, and on Sunday, January 10, a decision was made to disconnect him from life support devices. He died at 12:54 p.m. that day.

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The Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Pueblo Police Department are assisting the Trinidad cops with the investigation. Thus far, no arrests have been made; after the inquiry is completed, the case will be reviewed by prosecutors "to determine what charges, if any, will be pressed," a TPD release notes.

In the meantime, we send our condolences to the friends, family and loved ones of a boy who had so much more life to live.


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