GREENSBURG, Ind. (AP) — A southeastern Indiana man faces felony charges alleging that he left a loaded rifle unattended shortly before a teenage boy was fatally shot when a sibling picked up the weapon and it fired.
Jason L. Forshee, 34, of Greensburg was arrested Friday in connection with the March 11 death of 13-year-old Craig A. Roberts. He remained jailed Saturday at the Decatur County Jail on one count each of neglect of a dependent resulting in death and dangerous control of a child.
Court documents state that Forshee told police he was cleaning the weapon and had removed its magazine before he left the room of a Greensburg residence. Roberts’ 6-year-old sibling then picked up the weapon, pointed the rifle at the teen and it accidentally discharged, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Roberts was struck in the chest by a bullet and died at a local hospital.
Forshee told police he didn’t realize that a bullet was in the rifle’s chamber, the Greensburg Daily News reported. He told officers he heard a “pop” about 15 seconds after he left the room, according to the affidavit.
Craig’s mother and another child told police Forshee had previously allowed the 6-year-old to hold the weapon, court documents state.
Prosecutors said allowing the child to hold the firearm and failing “to make reasonable efforts to prevent the use of that firearm” constitutes the charge of dangerous control of a child.
“We believe that Craig’s tragic death deserves justice,” Decatur County Prosecutor Jim Rosenberry said in a statement.
Greensburg Police Detective Bill Meyerrose said the shooting serves as a tragic reminder that guns should never be left unattended and must be locked up if children are present.
Information from: Greensburg Daily News