WATERTOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — Nearly two dozen guns, many of which Watertown police said were unsecured in the home where a teenager accidentally shot himself in the head on Sept. 30, according to authorities.
Officers responded to a report around 12:35 p.m. of a 14-year-old boy who had fallen downstairs at a home on Hadley Street. They found the boy on the first floor of the house, bleeding heavily from his head. He was conscious and incoherent, police said.
Police then followed the blood trail into a bedroom that an adult family member used. In the bedroom, police found a significant amount of blood and an empty holster for a revolver.
An initial investigation showed that the boy was home alone and had accessed an unsecured .22 revolver. He then played with the gun when a round struck him in the head, police said.
The boy, whose name has not been released, was taken to Waterbury Hospital, where police said he was in critical but stable condition. He was then later flown to Connecticut Children’s, where he is in critical but stable condition.
Watertown police provided an update on Wednesday, Oct. 11, stating that the teen is awake but remains in critical but stable condition. No charges have been filed from the incident, officials said.
While executing a search warrant, authorities found 23 guns inside the home, many of which police said were unsecured.
“The Watertown/Oakville community is heartbroken by this preventable tragedy,” Watertown Police Chief Joshua Bergnegger said at a press conference Monday morning. “We are praying for a speedy and full recovery for our young resident. Our message to every gun owner is this: secure your firearms in accordance with the law.”
Ethan’s Law is named after Ethan Song, a 15-year-old from Guilford who died after accidentally shooting himself with an unsecured gun at a friend’s home in 2018. It became a law in 2019 with bipartisan support and requires all firearms, loaded and unloaded, to be safely stored in homes occupied by minors under 18. The law also allows prosecutors to criminally charge the owner of a gun that isn’t properly stored.
The accidental shooting happened just hours after new gun legislation went into effect on Oct. 1. Among the gun control measures is tightening the state’s storage requirements to include all firearms regardless of whether someone under 18 lives in the household.
The video below is from News 8 at 10 p.m. on Oct. 1, 2023.
A neighbor told News 8 they were surprised the shooting happened on their small, quiet street.
“I’ve been here 25 years, and that’s the first time we’ve ever (had) anything like that,” Mike Murphy said.
The investigation remains active and ongoing.