PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Prosecutors said a police officer should have known better than to leave a loaded gun where a child could reach it.

Now, the man is on trial for manslaughter in the death of his 5-year-old son.

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John Thompson and his wife, Sherrin, left the Allegheny County Courthouse without commenting Monday.

He is facing a non-jury trial for involuntary manslaughter.

A little over a year ago, he was a police officer with Port Vue and Lincon Borough.

Their lives were changed forever when their son, Gavin, died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Nov. 26, 2010, with his father’s .45-caliber service revolver.

A couple of months ago, Sherrin spoke with KD Investigator Marty Griffin, questioning why there would be a trial. She said the situation was an awful accident.

Prosecutors said it was negligence that caused the accidental shooting inside the Thompson home.

On Monday in court, the prosecutor showed pictures of the closet where Thompson stored his gun.

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He had told investigating officers that he also had candy or treats stored there and on that day his son had gotten a lollipop out of the closet.

When Thompson told his son to put it back, he said the boy opened the closet, which doesn’t lock, stood on a nearby computer chair, took the gun off the closet’s bottom shelf, put it in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

Other pictures and testimony were introduced showing the house in disarray and at least two more guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition within reach of children.

The prosecutor may try to make the case that the children were neglected.

Thompson was offered and rejected a plea deal in the case.

A conviction would preclude him from working as a police officer again, which he hopes to do.

He will now take his chances with the judge as the trial continues on Tuesday.


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