4-Year-Old Accidentally Shoots, Kills Father

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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A 4-year-old boy accidently shot and killed his father on Friday in Prescott Valley, Ariz.

The Prescott Valley Police Department said the father, 35-year-old Justin Stanfield Thomas, was a military veteran who served in the Army Special forces. Thomas and his son came from Phoenix to visit a friend, another army veteran, who always kept a loaded gun.

"Apparently when Justin and his little boy showed up, within minutes, the little boy found the gun and said, 'Hey, daddy, what's this?' and it went off," neighbor Jeremy Hartt told

The shooting occurred just before noon on Friday. Thomas was rushed to the hospital where he later died.

Hartt said he did not witness the shooting or hear the gunshot.

"I really can't believe this happened," Hartt said. "It's tragic, that poor little boy."

A police investigation is still underway, but they are calling the shooting an accident.

"He didn't know what was going on; he was just a happy little boy," said Hartt.

Police said the visit may have been unannounced, which could explain why the weapon was out.

"I don't know that this individual had time to do so, but it certainly needs to be at the forefront of anybody's mind if they have a firearm and a child comes in," Police Sgt. Brandon Bonney said. "It needs to be priority number one to secure those weapons."

Sources:, Huffington Post