Prescott Valley PD: 7-year-old boy with autism accidentally shoots father

- Prescott Valley police say a father was shot by his seven-year-old autistic son on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

"You don't play with guns. Keep them as secure as you can. But keep in mind that a gun loaded in the house, even in a safe, doesn't mean that the house is safe. I recommend highly the gun have an individual gun lock on it," said Jerry Ferguson, a community service officer with the Prescott Valley Police Department.

Justin West was asleep in his bedroom, and his wife was asleep in the living room with their two sons, ages two and seven. Their 13-year-old was in his bedroom doing homework.

At some point, police say the seven-year-old woke up and moved a dining room chair to the closet in order to reach the safe that the gun was inside.

"Two days before the incident, his dad apparently had the gun out of the safe, and the seven-year-old showed interest in it, but was told to never touch it, and put it back in the safe," Ferguson said.

Police say the child knew where the keys were to the safe. He removed the gun and shot his dad in the back.

The round went through the mattress and the wall, bounced across the living room floor and exited an exterior wall.

"Bullet went outside. We never have located it yet. And the neighbors in the immediate area, fortunately it was a vacant lot next to the home, checking with all of the immediate neighbors, there is no indication of evidence of the bullet going anywhere on the ground anywhere, but we're still checking," Ferguson said.o

There is no word from police as to why the boy shot his dead. It will be up to the county attorney if there will be any charges.

West is in stable condition, but he is in the ICU at John C. Lincoln Medical Center.

This is an ongoing investigation.

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