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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : local December 17, 2014

6/9/2013 6:00:00 AM
Man fatally shot by son was an Iraq war veteran
The Daily Courier

Prescott Valley police are continuing their investigation into the fatal shooting of 35-year-old Justin Stanfield Thomas of Phoenix.

Thomas, a father of two, was reportedly shot accidentally by his 4-year-old son at a friend's residence on Truwood Drive around 12:30 p.m. Friday.

According to police, the boy found a gun at the home and fired it, hitting his father.

Thomas, an army special forces veteran who served in Iraq, later died from his injuries at a local hospital.

The boy is in the custody of his mother in Phoenix, said Prescott Valley Police Department Sgt. Brandon Bonney.

"They're processing everything to see where they stand with the interviews and the crime scene investigation and see if everything is matching up," Bonney said.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Article comment by: That is Gunnery Sergeant to you

@ One of the Thousand Combat Vet

Well there Bucko, I guess the service you were in didn't teach you not to leave a condition 1 weapon lying around. Prescott Valley ain't the streets of Iraq! If the guy was that paranoid, then perhaps he shouldn't have owned a gun.

It is morons like you that try to justify this type of behavior that keep this kind of thing happening. Negligence is not an accident!

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Article comment by: Babylon Babble-on

The lives of everyone involved will forever be affected. My thoughts are for this poor little boy. I hope he gets the proper emotional support.

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Article comment by: So Sad

I was so sad to read this story!

Sadder still, this young man served in the military. He has a mother who held him as a baby, had hopes and dreams, and loved him dearly! He had a former wife, who held him dearly! He had children who looked up to their daddy. This little boy will no doubt be scarred for life.

Please save your platforms for another time, and lift up these families (and the gun owner for goodness' sake) to whatever entity you believe in.

God (my entity) bless these families and you sweet little boy...know that you are forgiven and your daddy still loves you in heaven.

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Article comment by: Jen g

While this is a tragic story that very well could have been prevented it is not do to gunlaws being lax. It is due to some guy not thinking about the safety of a small child who is not his own. Those of us with kids find it hard to believe he would forget something like a gun and leave it lying around. But the thing is some people dont have kids,never have never will and they are not in the same mind set as a parent they are not as apt to automatically think of dangera in the home. As for keeping the guns locked up well I agree thats the first thing he should have done when the child arrived. But hes no different than say a grandmother or family friend who have a pool are babysitting and forget to securely lock the back door and pool fence,so the child sneaks out falls in and dies. Every single day in phoenix a child is drowning in a swimming pool but no one is screaming for a ban on them or even tougher laws, why not? If a gun is to be used for protection it is utterly useless if it is unloaded and locked away in a box. Like having a guard dog and locking it in a crate in the garage. " Hi mr. Robber/rapist/killer ,hold on a minute while I get unlock,and load my gun or while I go uncrate my dog" silliness. The saddest part is that we live in such a time that guns,or dogs are even needed for protection.

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Article comment by: The Rev

Some muppet will doubt me. We cause this.

An unfortunate accident? A horrible accident? No, this was (is) negligence we permit. Proudly we chat up toy gun buybacks and celebrate open carry at trendy coffee shop. Calls for justice and cries of remorse are little worth compared to effective continuing public education.

Many cars have NRA stickers, many minds are not keen on firearms and there are people in Sedona who attend school training in media. If we can come together there is a chance a few daily tragedies could be prevented. The alternative: bickering, blood and lives ruined.

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Article comment by: Kali Simpson

hooty Hoo = Anonymous version of Tom Steele.
Cheers to One of a Thousand Combat Vet.
The tendency for so many to comment without even pausing to express some compassion are missing the basic idea of decency.
OK, I get it the fact that an event such as this has so many victims, it's tempting to rabble rouse, and frantically scramble for someone to blame. Why can't you stand down until you all have the facts of the event like others have suggested?
The fact that that two sons have been involved in the loss of their fathers here in Yavapai County is a good indicator that senseless tragedies involving firearms will continue as long as guns remain a part of American culture. Now is not the time for debate. Mourn the loss, bury the dead, care for the survivors - show some humanity. There's plenty of time for personal agendas in good time.

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: Phil Whitehead

Like so many, "Hooty" is an EXPERT on all matters, Church, State, you name it...HE has it "Going On"!!
Now for the sane among us, I feel as though all of us owe some understanding to this family. There is ONE inescapable fact here...Not One Of You Was There!
So, let's not Monday-Morning quarterback this issue, any more than any other. If you were not personally involved, then try to show some sympathy and manners...please...

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: Who Is Responsible? The Gun Owner!

Seems the issue may be...you own a gun...it is your responsibility to keep it in a place where accidental visitors do not have access. Plain and simple no judgment, no need for facts, common sense will do.

... Remorse by the gun owner? Too little, Too late! A man/father is dead...a 4 year old mentally destroyed for life!

Let's take this incident to Court in a venue other than Yavapai County where plea bargains allow you to walk the streets and do the deed again, again and again!

You gun (owners) need to reassess how you handle the storage of guns and ammunition. You are the threat to society...not the guns and ammo.

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: Swimming Pools

There are more regulations about having a swimming pool than there are guns.

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

Thanks for the compliment. I've already done years of what you suggested by the way. My condolences to the family as well. It's just sad to read about a totally preventable tradgedy, there are so many that are not.

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: One of the Thousand Combat Vet

1% of Americans can say they are a combat vet. That is 1% who put their backside on the line for you who dont think its worth mentioning. Now my thoughts on this senseless accident. It was an accident. Leaving a gun out is not a crime, forgetting to put it up when a child comes over is an unfortunate oversight. Same as if you forgot to put up your medications, matches, ant poison. There are likely thousands of items that we can say, "you should have put that up when the child was over". I seen a kid choke on a penny, darn that homeowner is horrible, he should put up his pennys. But what if you dont normally have a child over. Not something you automatically think of. It was an accident that will haunt this man forever. He will forever punish himself for something every one of us has done. Yes , we have all left something out for a child to reach that could be harmful. This time it was unfortunate. I just hate the holy bunch of cant do nothing wrong ... who write stupid comments. ...

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: To: Hooter

Gosh, you are brilliant. And on ALL subjects, too. I hope you volunteer your expansive mind to the local community.

My condolences to the families.

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

The gun owner should go to the slammer, no question about it. If you are so irresponsible to leave a loaded gun in a place where some little kid can shoot it then you have failed in maintaining a safe environment for a child. It's the same as if you left him by the swimming pool or in a car with no child seat. It's criminal. And spare me the drivel "oh he dropped in on a surprise visit". Garbage.

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: R J

Would you give a loaded gun to a four -year old child to play cowboys and indians with? NO!!!!!

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: @ Stop Being So... Judgemental

Because a man is DEAD, a son has been scared for LIFE and your "remorseful" friend IS at fault!

You are correct, he had the "right" to do what he wanted in his home. But, his "right" to do so, led to a death in his home! Regardless of how "sudden" or "unexpected" this visit was, this man had a responsibility to ANYONE that entered his home!

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: Edward Murrow

TO: This is Tragic!

Thank you for that, Captain Obvious, but do you think the Courier would have run a special story with a headline that said "Man fatally shot by son was a waiter at Petey's Pizza Palace??" Of course not.

This headline was nothing more than another shameless attempt to further sensationalize a tragic story.

The Courier has to sell advertising somehow.

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: Joana Brady

TO: Stop Being Judgemental (sic)

Your attempt to portray this incident as a situation where no one had any control of the tragic outcome is laughable and pathetic at the same time. Yes it's sad and tragic, blah, blah, blah. But to pretend we adults have no control over the sequence of events that impact our lives is nothing more than rationalizing a person's foolish fatal mistake. I pray you have no children to imbue with this sense "victimhood."

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: Give'm Hell Harry

Sad story, but it will continue to happen and it does on a daily basis as long as we continue our love of firearms. Once the bullet leaves the chamber lives are changed forever. That poor kid will be tortured by this the rest of his life because an adult put him in a terrible situation. Weapons must always be secured, period!

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: Stop Being So... Judgemental

I am sick to death of the comments on this web site judging what happened in situations that people know nothing about. So here are the facts...Ther person who owned the weapon did not know his friend was coming up and did not know he has his son with him. The gun was left out because he has the RIGHT to do what he wants with his weapon in his own house!!! This was a horrible ACCIDENT! Nothing more. The owner of the gun is beside himself with remorse. All you judgemental people need to back off and stop telling him what he should do when you have no idea what happened! Shame on all of you! Why don't you try a little sympathy for all envolved, instead of ripping someone apart with no facts.

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: Button Square Pants

So where does it stand on the investigation where there was wrong doing or neglect by the gun owner? The gun ownder should have had his guns under lock and key so as his guests who were over at his home could have no access to the gun that was found and used to kill a man... Sounds like a case of weapons misconduct to me...

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: This is Tragic!

But, I believe the reason for the dC bringing up him having been a Vet would go along the same lines as if he were local business man, or a waiter/bartender at such an such place. Just a little more info about this man for the public. IMO.
Prayers to the family~

Posted: Sunday, June 09, 2013
Article comment by: That is Gunnery Sergeant to you

Thank you Jerry Kurl!

What bearing that this man was an "Iraqi War Veteran" have to do with his death?

P.S. Jerry, it wasn't dad's gun, it was a friend of dad...but, the "friend" being a veteran WOULD have bearing on this issue!

Posted: Sunday, June 09, 2013
Article comment by: Jerry Kurl

So what? There are thousands of war veterans out there. The vast majority of them have sense enough to keep guns away from a four year old.

Posted: Sunday, June 09, 2013
Article comment by: Really Let's See !

Where do they stand with the interviews ? In a pile ...

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