LIBERTY BOROUGH (KDKA) — Family, friends and community members gathered in Liberty Borough Saturday evening to remember a young boy who authorities say accidentally shot himself with his father’s service weapon last year.
The 50 friends and neighbors held a candlelight vigil in front of former police officer John Thompson’s home in Liberty Borough.
They came to offer prayers and support for the Thompson family as they continue to mourn the loss of 5-year-old Gavin.
According to investigators, Gavin Thompson found his father’s police-issued weapon and accidentally shot himself in the face last November.
John Thompson has been charged with involuntary manslaughter along with reckless endangerment and child endangerment.
“In times of tragedy, we were raised in Liberty Borough where neighbors support each other,” said Debbie Swank, a friend of the family. “We thought it was very important to come and show and teach the Thompson family children also that they have support.”
“He’s a family man; he was a real nice family man. He still is a family man,” added Ed Hart, another family friend. “He’s just living in a little bit of his own hell because of what happened.”
As a result of the charges, Thompson can no longer work as a police officer in Port Vue and Liberty Borough. Friends have been raising money for the family by selling yard signs and stickers with Gavin’s photo.
“He’s a super nice guy, a super nice family guy,” said George Horst, a friend. “I just hate to see him go through this. [I] just hope it all comes out in the end in his favor.”
Thompson is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing on March 4.