9-year-old arrested in shooting death of Tooele man

Posted at 10:38 AM, Feb 20, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-20 19:12:08-05

TOOELE, Utah — A 9-year-old has been arrested in the shooting death of a Tooele man who was related to the child, although police have released few details of the incident due to the age of the unidentified child.

The Tooele City Police Department said its officers were dispatched Friday night to a home in the area of 380 West Millcreek Way where a 32-year-old man was reportedly unconscious and bleeding from his head.

When officers arrived, they found the 32-year-old man with what looked like a gunshot wound to his head. The victim, who was an unspecified family member of the child, was transported to the hospital where he later died.

It's not known what charges the 9-year-old faces or what led to the shooting. Police say they are unable to release any further information.

"[The case is] definitely an outlier and something that we haven't really had to deal with much before," said Cpl. Colbey Bentley. "I know it may be a little bit frustrating to the public right now."

Bentley added that all options are being investigated right now, including whether the incident was an accidental shooting or a criminal case. He said that while the gun was accessible to the child, it's not known if it was properly secured.

"Any time there's a situation where somebody is arrested, there's some sort of element that we've seen that leads to a certain charge or a certain crime being looked at more," he said.

Residents in the Tooele neighborhood were surprised to hear about the incident and the age of the child arrested.

"I think about my kids right around that age and it does kind of hit home," said Emily Genther.

Genther added that the incident brings up concerns for those who live nearby.

"I think that there's really a lack of proper education when it comes to gun safety with children because a lot of children are just told, don't, no, and then like I said, there's the disconnect from the reality of what happens if you do," she said.

Along with the child and victim, police say other people were inside the home at the time of the shooting but would not identify how many.