California prosecutors charge father in death of child his 10-year-old son allegedly shot

Jan 4, 2024, 3:37 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Northern California prosecutors have decided to only charge the father of a 10-year-old boy in connection with the death of a child the boy allegedly shot.

The decision on charges in the fatal shooting Saturday outside Sacramento was announced during the father’s court appearance Wednesday.

In an email Thursday to The Associated Press, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office said it told the court that “based on the facts currently known, the sole criminal liability and responsibility for the child’s death lays exclusively with this Defendant.”

The AP generally does not identify juveniles involved in crimes. The father’s name is being withheld to avoid identifying his son.

The Sacramento Bee reported that an attorney entered not guilty pleas on behalf of the 53-year-old defendant to charges of having a firearm that a child could easily access, leading to the death of another minor; two counts of child endangerment; having a firearm as a felon; having ammunition when prohibited from doing so; and destroying evidence.

Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies answering a shooting report in unincorporated Foothill Farms found victim Keith Frierson, also 10, in a parking lot and he was later pronounced dead at a hospital, the Sheriff’s Office said in a social media posting.

The Sacramento Bee reported that the boy was accused of shooting Frierson after losing a bike race in the townhome complex where the boys lived.

According to the Sheriff’s Office statement, the defendant’s son had gone out to his father’s truck to get him cigarettes, found the loaded gun, “bragged that his father had a gun,” and then shot the victim once. The father allegedly threw the gun into a trash can.

The District Attorney’s Office said it could not make further comment on the case. “Additionally, juvenile matters are confidential as mandated by California law,” it said.

The son had been arrested on suspicion of murder after the shooting.

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California prosecutors charge father in death of child his 10-year-old son allegedly shot