PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A former police officer has been ordered to stand trial on charges in connection with the death of his young son who authorities say shot himself with his father’s service weapon.

John Thompson will stand trial on involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment charges.

According to investigators, Thompson’s son, Gavin, found his father’s police-issued weapon in a closet and accidentally shot himself in the head last November.

“It is a tragic accident. Nobody wanted to lose his son less than Officer Thompson,” said Anthony DeLuca, the defense attorney. “The family is still devastated; they were in tears, they are torn up by this particular situation and it’s terrible. In this situation, there’s an attempt to turn this into a crime, which it is not.”

Prosecutors say the closet where the gun was stored also stored candy.

“You have two fully-loaded, semi-automatic weapons, as well as an assault rifle, and those are not locked up. Those are not kept separate from the ammunition,” said Mark Tranquilli, the prosecutor. “To say that this was simple an accident, I think does a disservice to the memory of little Gavin. This was not an accident, this was a crime.”

Thompson had worked for the Port Vue and Liberty Borough police departments.

Last month, friends and neighbors held a candlelight vigil in front of the family’s home in Liberty Borough to offer prayers and support.

Stay with KDKA for the latest details.

Liberty Borough
Port Vue
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