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Shooting claims 12-year-old

SHARE Shooting claims 12-year-old

A 12-year-old boy died early Tuesday morning, 12 hours after South Jordan police say he was accidentally shot in the head while playing with a friend.

The boy's death could result in criminal charges against the 14-year-old friend, who police say was handling the .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol at the time it went off. The person who owned the gun also could face charges.

"It's our intention to turn the case over to the Salt Lake District Attorney's Office and have them look at it," South Jordan Police Chief Dan Pearson said. "The case certainly fits a manslaughter or negligent homicide-type situation.

"I've got some real concerns about the way the weapon was available, and so we will look at whether or not the homeowner had any culpability."

Police had not released the name of the 12-year-old South Jordan boy Tuesday night.

The victim was airlifted to Primary Children's Medical Center and placed on life support after being shot once in the head Monday afternoon at a house near 9500 South and 1100 West. The boy died Tuesday at approximately 4 a.m.

Neither boy lived at the home, Pearson said. Several adults, including the homeowner, were inside at the time.

At some point, the 14-year-old reached into a car and retrieved the gun from under the front seat, Pearson said. The unlocked car was parked inside the garage with the windows rolled down.

"They knew it was in there and we believe that the homeowner also knew that they knew it was in there, and that's where some of our concern comes from," Pearson said.

Police are still investigating how and why the gun discharged. The gun's clip was loaded but investigators weren't sure if the lethal bullet was already in the chamber or if the teen loaded it before the shooting, Pearson said.

The 14-year-old boy is in the custody of his parents after being interviewed by police.

"He's a very good kid. He comes from a very good family," Pearson said. "It's just tragic all the way around."

E-MAIL: djensen@desnews.com