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April 13, 2013

Danville chief charged for not securing gun used in teen suicide

Danville chief charge for not securing gun teen used in suicide

DANVILLE — The father of a teenager who fatally shot himself with police Chief Wade Parsons’ gun called the longtime chief “irresponsible” yesterday.

Geoffrey Carver, the father of 15-year-old Jacob Carver, spoke from the door of his Diamond Drive home yesterday.

“He’s just very irresponsible,” Carver said. “I don’t feel like talking right now.”

Less than an hour earlier, Rockingham County Attorney James Reams announced Parsons was being charged for failing to secure his loaded service weapon before leaving his Caramel Drive home March 11 to run errands. The teen was in Parsons’ home at the time.

Jacob, who is also the son of Parsons’ girlfriend, Debbie Carver, was found dead in Parsons’ home that evening. He was a freshman at Timberlane Regional High School who wrestled and played football.

Reams said his office decided to charge Parsons because of the severity of the shooting and to send a message to gun owners they need to take precautions.

“I hope it’s a reminder that if you have a dangerous weapon, you must secure it,” Reams said.

Parsons, 54, will be prosecuted in 10th Circuit Court in Plaistow on a charge of negligent storage of firearms — a violation punishable by a $1,000 fine — because a child under 16 was able to gain access to the weapon, Reams said. A court date has not been scheduled, he said.

For weeks, state police said although the death was not accidental, they would not confirm it was a suicide. Reams confirmed yesterday the teen shot and killed himself.

The Glock 22 .40-caliber handgun was left on top of a closet safe, where Parsons regularly stores the weapon, Reams said. There were no other weapons in the house, he said.

As state police completed their investigation, Lt. Christopher Vetter said it would be up to Reams’s office to determine if charges would be filed.

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