A look at gun safety after stray bullet hits 8-year-old in Garden Valley

“Every year we have a couple of people that are hit by accidental discharges,” said Boise County Sheriff’s Cpl. David Gomez.

GARDEN VALLEY, Idaho — The man charged with accidentally discharging his gun, after an 8-year-old boy in Boise County was struck by a stray bullet, is now expected in court later this month. 

The boy, named LJ, was lying in his bed Friday night, according to his dad, when a bullet from a neighbor’s gun shot through the window, a wall, and a pillow before striking the boy in his hand, face and neck. LJ is now back home and recovering. 

Prosecutors charged 41-year-old Brandon L. Nelson with injuring another by careless handling and discharge of firearms.

The incident prompted the question, how common are accidental discharges like this? 

RELATED: 8-year-old hit by stray bullet in Garden Valley: ‘He won’t be the same’

“I think every year we have a couple of accidental discharges and every year we have a couple of people that are hit by accidental discharges,” said Boise County Sheriff’s Cpl. David Gomez. “So, you want to put in as many safety mechanisms as you can. Number one, always pretend like [the gun is] loaded. Number two, keep it pointed in a safe direction always. And number three, keep it secured so that you know who’s controlling that gun.”

He added that, just like driving, it’s not good to be under the influence when operating a car and it’s not good to be under the influence and handling a gun as well because it greatly affects decision-making.

In this particular case, the parents of the 8-year-old told KTVB, Nelson was drunk when he discharged the gun Friday night. Nelson is neighbors with LJ’s dad. However, investigators have not yet released if the 41-year-old was under the influence at the time. 

KTVB has also learned the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives or ATF are aware of what happened in Garden Valley. 

Nelson is scheduled to be in court on Oct. 19.

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8-year-old hit by stray bullet in Garden Valley: ‘He won’t be the same’

The young victim was airlifted to Boise for treatment, but is now recovering at home.

GARDEN VALLEY, Idaho — A boy is recovering after being shot by a stray bullet in Boise County Friday night.

According to the Boise County Sheriff’s Office, the shooting happened at 11 p.m. Friday at a home in Garden Valley. The bullet struck the 8-year-old in the hand and neck, the sheriff said.

The injured child, LJ, was airlifted to a hospital in Boise for treatment, and later released to recover at home. The boy’s wound is not believed to be life-threatening.

“He won’t be the same, but he’s doing alright right now,”  Jason Petrick, LJ’s father said. “His mother told me the other day that right now he’s scared of getting shot again and that really hurts.”

Deputies investigated the shooting with help from Idaho State Police, and ultimately charged 41-year-old Brandon L. Nelson with injuring another by careless handling and discharge of firearms. The misdemeanor charge is punishable by up to six months in jail.

Nelson is the neighbor of LJ’s father. Petrick told KTVB, he would like to see a more reasonable charge for Nelson and that he be held responsible.

“If you’re drunk and driving a car, no matter what the circumstances are, if you kill someone you’re going to prison for a long time, if you’re drunk and playing with a gun you’ve taken pretty much the same responsibility, you’ve taken your life and other people’s life into your hands,” Petrick said.

KTVB reached out to Boise County Sheriff’s to find out if Nelson was under the influence when this happened. In a statement, the Sheriff said, “we are not releasing anymore information pending the outcome of the investigation.” 

Further charges are being reviewed in the case, and the investigation is ongoing. 


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