RIO GRANDE COUNTY— A 12-year-old boy from Rio Grande County underwent his first arraignment Monday, April 9, after a tragic accident that claimed his best friend’s life. Over the weekend, the boy was playing with a gun with his 14-year-old best friend when the gun fired, killing the 14-year-old. Details pertaining to the incident have yet to be released as the event is still under investigation.
The courtroom was full of family and friends from both families as they gathered to show support for the 12-year-old and his family. Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church out of Monte Vista, Bob Galey spoke on behalf of the family stating that the incident was just a tragic event. “This was a senseless, horrific accident that happened to two boys that were childhood friends. The families have a lot of healing to do, but as you can see, they both will do that together as one,” he said.
The boy was accompanied by Rio Grande County Sheriff Brian Norton into the courtroom and then released to his parents and attorney while District Attorney Crista Newmyer-Olsen spoke with presiding District Judge Patrick Hayes. Newmyer-Olsen stated that the district attorney’s office would recommend that the boy be released to his family but requested that the court require the family to seek trauma counseling and check in daily with the Colorado Youth Development Center in Alamosa.
The attorney representing the family asked that the conditions of release be left out of the agreement, stating that the family had already been through enough and that they would be better off seeking help from family and friends. Judge Hayes stated that due to the overabundance of people in the courtroom he would only ask that trauma services be offered to the family and that they take advantage of the services.
“I can see the overwhelming support of the community and the family’s church will help them through this difficult time, but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t add the counseling as a condition of his release. I also want him to check in daily with CDYC in Alamosa by phone and be seen once a week in person by a supervisor that can identify any trauma issues,” said Hayes.
Hayes set a future hearing for May 9, allowing for Newmyer-Olsen time to review the case and file charges from the district attorney’s office. No charges have yet been filed, and Newmyer-Olsen has until April 19 to determine what, if any charges will be filed.
The Rio Grande County Sheriff’s office was unable to comment on the incident until investigations are complete.