Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ohio Man Convicted in Son's Accidental Shooting Death

The Columbus Dispatch

A Knox County man has been found guilty in the Memorial Day death of his 3-year-old son.

Lucas Heagren found his father’s loaded .45-caliber handgun under a couch in the family home near Mount Vernon and accidentally shot himself in the head. He died hours later.

Two photos of Joshua E. Heagren, 25, showing his son how to shoot a gun proved crucial to the case, Knox County Prosecutor John Thatcher said yesterday.

“Lucas turned 3 at the end of January (2012),” Thatcher said. “His father gave him a .22 rifle for Christmas (2011) at age 2 years, 11 months. There was a Facebook picture of Joshua crouching in the snow showing his son how to the shoot the gun. There was another photo of Lucas holding an AR-15 assault rifle last spring.”

In Heagren’s trial before a judge lasty Tuesday, Dr. Daniel Coury, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, testified that toddlers cannot understand how dangerous guns can be, and it is not appropriate to try to teach gun safety to a toddler beyond the simple admonition, “Don’t touch.”

Licking County Common Pleas Judge David Branstool convicted Heagren of child endangering, a third-degree felony, and negligent homicide, a first-degree misdemeanor. He announced his verdict yesterday.

Thatcher said Heagren testified that he normally kept the .45-caliber handgun under his mattress. He had taken it out and slipped it under the couch because he was going to go shooting later, but he then got distracted, he testified.

What a sad, pathetic and TYPICAL gun lover.  Normally, you figure a guy like this has suffered so much already that going to jail would be superfluous. But you have to wonder about a guy who is so stupid as to testify that he usually kept the gun under the mattress. There's no tellin' what a guy like that thinks.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.


  1. MikeB wrote, "What a sad, pathetic and TYPICAL gun lover."

    I agree with the sad and pathetic part of MikeB's comment. I vehemently disagree with the TYPICAL part of MikeB's comment.

    The father's actions were irresponsible, reprehensible, and criminal ... and he is going to prison as he should.

    The father's actions were NOT typical. I know dozens of people who own firearms and none of them leave loaded guns laying around -- regardless of whether they do or do not have toddlers. And none of them try to teach their toddlers how to shoot.

    I taught my toddlers, "Do not touch." Further, I never leave loaded firearms where a toddler can access them: my firearms are unloaded, encased, and separated from ammunition, or in a safe, or loaded on my hip. I also took my toddlers to a safe location, had them stand back about 25 feet behind me with hearing protection, and watch me shoot a couple times. The flash and blast cemented the "do not touch" lesson in their mind.

    About 100,000,000 (that's 100 million!) people own firearms in the U.S. and 99,999,999 of them did not do what this father did. All accidental deaths from firearms combined -- including hunting, training, and cleaning accidents as well as leaving guns for children to find -- resulted in less than 600 deaths last year. Of those 600 some fraction were children. One or two hundred out of 100,000,000 is NOT typical.

    1. You're stretching the numbers in your favor.

      I admit "typical" is too strong. Better is "all too commonplace." You yourself and your small sampling of super-responsible gun owners are not typical either.

    2. It wasn't much of a stretch, since 99%+ of gun owners commit no crimes with their guns.

  2. Typical? There are around 600 firearms accidental deaths in a year. That's in a country with 100,000,000 gun owners. If that's typical, albinos are the majority skin color in the human population.

  3. Typical. The most dangerous person in the world is a gunsuck gunwack gun owner who lives in the same house with you. If you are a woman who lives with a gunsuck gun owner, LEAVE NOW WHILE YOU CAN STILL WALK AND YOUR CHILDREN ARE ALIVE.

    1. Resorting to begging now? What are you going to do when we say no?