Six Year Old Gunshot Victim

Child Fatality Review #05-29
Region 1
Spokane Office
Case Overview
This six-year-old Caucasian male died in the Spokane area on December 7, 2005 from a gunshot
wound to his head.
On the evening of December 6, 2005, at approximately 5:00 p.m., an eleven-year-old reportedly
shot his younger brother, age six. They were at their home alone when the eleven-year-old shot
the six-year-old in the head with his father’s gun. The six-year-old was airlifted to the hospital
where he died the next morning.
The parents did not adequately provide supervision for their children. This was a recurring theme
in several previous referrals. Child Protective Services (CPS) had received a total of 12 referrals
regarding this family.
The parents were offered substance abuse evaluations and marital counseling following the first
referral received by CPS in May 2001. The parents refused to participate in these services. In
January 2002, substance abuse evaluations were offered again following a new investigation by
CPS. The father complied and was diagnosed as alcohol dependent with recommendations for
intensive outpatient treatment and community support groups. The mother also completed an
evaluation and was diagnosed as alcohol and cannabis dependent. She was recommended to
participate with intensive outpatient treatment and sexual assault counseling. Neither of the
parents followed through with the treatment recommendations.
The siblings were also referred to individual counseling because of reports that they were
engaged in sexualized behavior. There was not an opening available when the referral was made.
The counseling center only had one counselor available in the parents’ community. Due to a
possible conflict of interest, at least one of the children would need to participate in counseling in
Spokane. The parents stated this posed a hardship due to their hours of employment and
transportation issues.
In March 2002, a referral was received for Sexually Aggressive Youth (SAY) treatment for the
older boy. The Spokane County Prosecutor made the request for services. The parents did not
respond to the services offered for their oldest son.
In February 2003, following a protective placement by Law Enforcement, the assigned social
worker attempted to engage the parent’s in intensive outpatient treatment, counseling, and
counseling for their children. For five months the parents failed to follow through with any
In February of 2003, the older brother was placed in a behavioral intervention classroom and the
decedent was accepted in a pre-school through the school district. The school provided the
transportation for pre-school. The school counselor contacted the parents to offer school based
mental health services to the children. The parents refused to allow the children to participate.
Several referrals were received in 2005 that required CPS investigation. The father had agreed to
a voluntary service plan that included Family Preservation services (FPS), counseling for the
older children, as well as appropriate childcare whenever the father was not home. The father
quit participating after three contacts by the FPS provider. The FPS provider reports that she
addressed gun safety at a meeting with the family on July 9, 2005. The father said that all of his
guns were locked up and he wouldn’t allow his oldest son to have a gun because he hadn’t
completed a gun safety course. The FPS provider also identified childcare resources for the
father. He never arranged for the children’s counseling and did not have adequate supervision for
the children on the day the shooting occurred.
On September 29, 2005, a Child Protection Team (CPT) recommended that the children remain
in the home. The team expressed concerns for the children’s safety and suggested that the
Department staff the case with an Assistant Attorney General (AAG) and the father should get a
substance abuse evaluation. According to the Social Worker, the AAG said that there was not
sufficient information to pursue a dependency petition.
On November 1, 2005, the school reported to CPS that the oldest boy smelled of alcohol at
school. They had reports that the children use alcohol and drugs at home and that the daughter
had pulled knives and pellet guns on the boys. CPS investigated these allegations, which were
founded for negligent treatment. The school helped develop a safety plan for the children to be
supervised by a friend’s parents after school.
On November 2, 2005 CPS received an informational report that the daughter had snorted
On December 7, 2005, CPS received information that the youngest boy had been shot by his
older brother and died.
A safety plan was implemented in the father’s home immediately after the child’s death.
However, both siblings were informally placed shortly thereafter. The older daughter was placed
with a relative and her brother was placed with a friend of the father’s. A dependency on the two
children was granted in March, 2006. The brother is currently in a BRS placement and the
daughter is in a foster home.