When the shooter is a child, the repercussions of punishment can sometimes be trickyFargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The age of the child that did the shooting may lead some to ask whether he was old enough to know what he was doing. But even younger children can be charged with crimes.
By: Becky Parker, WDAY
Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The age of the child that did the shooting may lead some to ask whether he was old enough to know what he was doing. But even younger children can be charged with crimes.
We talked to Fargo Police, who say a child that age could be charged, but it all depends on the circumstances.
But if the child is not responsible, then some say it's the adults in their lives who are.
Jes Johnson knows what can happen when a gun gets into the wrong hands.
A few years ago, some teens he used to hang with in his hometown were messing around, and one of them shot the other.
Jes Johnson/Fargo: "They were playing around with their grandpa's gun… one of them was shot. The story was they were playing Russian roulette but didn't think it was loaded. He ended up being mentally handicapped for the rest of his life; he's still in a group home."
When kids shoot other kids, the outcomes can be devastating.
But what about the consequences?
At what age can a child be charged with such a serious crime?
Fargo Police say the guideline for the age of "culpability" is around seven years old, but that's not set in stone.
It has to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
Vettel: "Reasonably, what would a kid of that age understand and know what's going on. But certainly it's not something you deal with on a day-to-day basis, because of the age."
Often, especially with very young kids, it's just an accident and no charges are filed.
But many times, accidents can be preventable.
Johnson: "I was raised around guns, I think it's the adults' responsibility to keep it safe for everyone."
Just a reminder about keeping guns around the house - the Safe Kids Coalition says store them locked, unloaded, and out of reach.
Even put ammunition in a separate location… and make sure all guns have child-resistant locks.