G-ICYMI™: WV Joins List of States with Child Gun Deaths

The Free Press WV
The Free Press WV

One gunshot rang out from a Gilmer County trailer in November, followed by the frantic cries of a young boy.

The boy called on his family for help — his brother was hurt. Their father, Charles Pritt, ran next door to his father’s home and found his son, Colby, dead from a gunshot to the head.

Colby Pritt became one of at least 152 children in America to die from an accidental gunshot wound during the past three years. The Associated Press and USA Today Network compiled data from the Gun Violence Archive and officially released it today. About 20 children between the ages of 1 and 11, most of them boys, are listed under states that border West Virginia, where only one case is recorded in the data.

Charles Pritt and his girlfriend, Tiffany Parmer, now face criminal charges in the death of Colby Pritt.

Deputies also charged the boys’ grandfather, Coy Pritt Jr. He believed the boys had left his home, where a gun rack had caught their attention, according to a criminal complaint filed in Gilmer County Circuit Court.

Colby Pritt’s brother fired the gun as they both played with it, the complaint states.

Gilmer Sheriff Larry Gerwig said an unlocked rifle and a lack of supervision ultimately led to the boy’s death.

“I’ve been here almost 18 years now and we haven’t had anything with a kid like this,” he said.

Officials indicted Charles Pritt, 31, Coy Pritt, 64, and Parmer, 28, each on two charges of child neglect, according to public records.

Each family member faces fines totaling up to $8,000, and prison time totaling up to 20 years, as state code requires.

As a lifelong resident of Gilmer County and its current sheriff, Gerwig said he knew the family before tragedy struck.

The lifeless boy — slumped near an empty shell casing on the floor — affected both loved ones and investigators, he said.

“The main tip I would have is to empty your guns and make sure they’re empty before you even take them in your house, and then lock them up,” Gerwig said.

Between January 01, 2014, and December 31, 2016, West Virginia and Maryland each had one accidental gun-related death involving someone under the age of 12.

Ohio had 12 deaths, four times more than Virginia, and Kentucky had three cases, each in Louisville.

Officials in Pennsylvania convicted two people after children were shot and killed.

Pennsylvania resident Nicholas Wyllie served at least 12 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to three charges related to the death of his 2-year-old son.

He also circulated gun locks with the help of a gun safety organization in Philadelphia, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Of the 22 cases listed in West Virginia and the surrounding states, just over half led to charges and convictions.

The information in today’s report originated from shooting records, police blotters, annual crime reports and social media. The data does not, however, include non-fatal shootings.

As of this week, gunshots killed or wounded nearly 260 children in 2017, according to the non-profit organization cited in the report.

That number includes the accidental shooting of a young girl near Oak Hill in February.

Her brother fired the bullet that grazed her hand and struck her buttocks, said Capt. Jim Sizemore, chief of detectives for the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department.

Sizemore said the children’s grandfather placed his .22-caliber rifle on the table after a hunting trip. As the man removed his jacket, the boy took hold of the rifle and fired it. A hospital treated the girl’s non-life-threatening injuries.

Every case includes a unique set of facts and circumstances, and Sizemore said the grandfather’s decision was more of a mistake than neglect.

“It is incumbent on any gun owner to always be aware, especially if there’s young children around, that you don’t leave firearms where they can access them, because tragedy can happen in just a matter of seconds,” he said.

~~  Giuseppe Sabella ~~

Joe Manchin will be touting this when it comes election time.  Anti-gun Bloomberg supports Joe by holding fundraisers.  We all saw with his “I Stand With Planned Parenthood” pictures>  What happened there?  Thought Joe told us he was prolife?  Not pro-death?  Huh Joe? Huh?

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