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N. Hampshire official: Police chief left gun unsecured, teen used it for suicide

By Laura Ly, CNN
updated 10:39 PM EDT, Fri April 12, 2013
Danville Police Chief Wade Parsons is accused of leaving his pistol on top of a safe in his bedroom closet.
Danville Police Chief Wade Parsons is accused of leaving his pistol on top of a safe in his bedroom closet.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • New Hampshire police chief is cited after his fiream is used by a teenager for suicide
  • The weapon was left unsecured while the chief was away from home on errands, authorities say
  • Dead is the 15-year-old son of the chief's girlfriend
  • Chief is cited with improperly storing a gun

(CNN) -- A New Hampshire police chief was cited Friday for improperly storing his service firearm after a teenager used the weapon to commit suicide in the chief's home in March, according to the local prosecutor.

Danville Police Chief Wade Parsons allegedly left his firearm, a .40-caliber Glock 22 pistol, on top of a safe in his bedroom closet on March 11, said Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams.

Parsons left the house to run errands, while the boy -- the 15-year-old son of the chief's girlfriend -- remained in the home.

"The service weapon was used by a juvenile to shoot himself while no one else was home," Reams said in a news release.

When Parsons returned, he discovered the boy's body, Reams said.

"There is no clear explanation (for the suicide)," Reams told CNN Friday. There had been no previous signs that the youth was troubled, Reams added.

Parsons was not charged in the youth's death, Reams said.

The chief was charged with violating a New Hampshire statute that requires any person to securely store a firearm when a child is likely to gain access to it without parental or guardian permission.

A court date has not yet been set. The maximum fine under the statute is $1,000, according to Reams' news release.

This is the first time Reams has cited anyone with the violation in his 15 years as county attorney, he said.

Parsons did not immediately respond to CNN's requests for comment.

Danville is located in southeastern New Hampshire and is about 10 miles north of the Massachusetts line.

Reams said he hopes the tragedy will remind people of the importance of storing weapons properly.

"Nobody feels worse about this than the police chief," said Reams. "But I hope it's a reminder to people in New Hampshire to make sure that children don't have unsupervised access to firearms. That's the statement our legislature has made. We expect people to live up to it."

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