Danville chief facing charge in shooting
Parsons will face one count of negligent storage of a firearm - a violation that carries up to a $1,000 fine.
The charge follows a State Police probe into the March 11 shooting death of Jacob Carver.
Through the investigation, Reams said it was determined that Parsons set the gun down on a safe in a closet.
"The chief left to go run errands and didn't secure his weapon," said Reams, whose office will prosecute the case.
While Parsons was away, his girlfriend's 15-year-old son, who was living at the home, went into the closet and grabbed the gun, according to Reams.
Reams said the boy died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound while he was alone. Authorities responded to the home at 53 Caramel Drive around 7:15 that night after receiving a 911 call.
"The statute holds you responsible for how you store weapons. It should have gone in a gun safe," Reams said. "We just looked at the statute and the conduct. There's no other option but to charge him. The statute reflects society's concern that if you have a weapon and children, you have to take steps to make sure they don't have access."
The statute states: "Any person who stores or leaves on premises under that person's control a loaded firearm, and who knows or reasonably should know that a child (under the age of 16) is likely to gain access to the firearm without the permission of the child's parent or guardian, is guilty of a violation if a child gains access to a firearm and the firearm is used in a reckless or threatening manner; the firearm is used during the commission of any misdemeanor or felony; or the firearm is negligently or recklessly discharged."
Reams said he wasn't sure if the gun is owned by Parsons or the town.
Reams said he hopes the case serves as a reminder to other gun owners about the importance of being careful when it comes to storing firearms when children are around.
"Nobody is probably more highly trained than a police officer," Reams said.
Parsons, the town's chief since 1995, has remained on the job through the State Police investigation.