Nearly half a year following the shooting death of a Santa Fe police officer’s 2-year-old son at the family home in Rio Rancho, no charges have been filed.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Rio Rancho police believe Lincoln Harmon’s 4-year-old brother discovered their father Jonathan’s off-duty handgun in a kitchen cabinet and unintentionally fired it early one morning in December, killing his two-year-old brother.
The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, which became involved in the case March 7, said an independent legal review is underway.
Is there preferential treatment because the gun owner Jonathan Harmon is an officer – who is still employed and is on ‘alternative’ duties?
Officer Harmon was previously employed by the Bernalillo Police Department, which works closely with the 13th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, which created a conflict of interest issue.
Many feel the pace of justice in this case is impacted by Harmon’s status as an officer. Given that other parents who have been in the same situation have had their cases brought more quickly and been convicted, it seems that way.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports: “In other accidental shootings by a child elsewhere, parents have faced charges soon after the incident. Last month in Fort Collins, Colo., for example, the mother of a 6-year-old boy who accidentally shot himself turned herself in within weeks of the shooting after being charged with child abuse resulting in death and unlawful storage of a firearm, according to published reports.
“In January, Phoenix police arrested the father of a 2-year-old who accidentally shot himself; the arrest came a day after the shooting.
“Jennifer Burrill, president-elect of the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, said prosecutors have “plenty of time” to make a charging decision.”
Disturbingly, the initial 911 call was about the victim ‘falling off of a chair and not the gunshot, KOAT reports. The public need and deserve the facts.
The New Mexico DA’s office has put pressure on Rio Rancho police to release information. More however needs to be done.
We will demand that charges are brought swiftly and ask for an explanation as to why this has not happened.
Please contact the New Mexico Attorney General through one of the channels below and give them the following message, personalized to your liking:
As a member of One Pulse for America, I would like to know why no charges have been filed yet against Officer Jon Harmon and/or his wife regarding the shooting death of his son? The four-year-old was killed by a loaded gun Harmon owned which the child was able to find. Similar cases have been prosecuted more swiftly in your state. While I appreciate your efforts, I have no faith in the Rio Rancho Police, and urge you to press this matter. In similar cases in New Mexico where a parent was not an officer, I can clearly see charges were swiftly brought: the public need to see no one is above hte law.
@1Pulse4America wants law applied equally to all- and it’s definitely time for a NM gun safety campaign. If trained officers are leaving loaded guns unattended which result in child shootings, there is work to be done to educate people about the potentially-lethal dangers of leaving loaded guns where children can find them.
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