BRENTWOOD, N.H.—Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams said today he has cited Danville Police Chief Wade Parsons for not properly storing a handgun in his home, a weapon that a 15-year-old boy staying in Parsons’ home used to kill himself March 11.
“It is my hope that out of this tragedy will come increased awareness by gun owners that they are responsible for the way they store their weapons,” Reams told reporters today.
According to Reams, Parsons left the firearm, a .40 caliber Glock 22 pistol, on top of his gun safe and then left his house in Danville to complete errands. While he was out of the house, the 15-year-old boy obtained the weapon and shot himself.
Parsons returned home around two hours later, and discovered the boy’s body, Reams said.
Parsons could not be reached for comment today.
He is charged with a single count of negligent storage of a firearm, and faces a maximum sentence of a $1,000 fine. A court date has not yet been set.
Today outside his office here, Reams said Parsons has cooperated with the investigation by his office since the March 11 shooting.
“The chief failed in his responsibility to secure his weapon,’’ Reams said. The Glock was his service weapon, Reams said.
Reams said the boy’s death has been determined to be a suicide, and that there was no prior sign that the teenager was troubled.
“It was a surprise, I think, to everyone who knew him,” Reams said of the boy’s death.
“New Hampshire has a specific statute that requires when people own firearms that’s they make sure that children can’t gain access to those firearms,’’ Reams said. “That’s the statute we are alleging was violated on March 11 in Danville.’’
Reams said this is the first time he has cited anyone for violation of the state’s gun storage law that grew out of a fatal shooting incident.
“It’s a tough incident all the way around,” Reams said.
(John R. Ellement of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.)Peter Schworm can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globepete.