A Jacksonville, North Carolina, police detective who fatally shot his 15-year-old son in the head during an incident over Christmas break will not face criminal charges.
What are the details?
Jacksonville Police Detective John Clukey and his 15-year-old son Alexander were “playing with toy guns” on Dec. 27 when the incident took place, according to a report from the Daily News.
The two were playing outside in the Clukey’s front yard when he shot Alexander in the head with a .45-caliber handgun.
According to reports, Clukey had his duty pistol on his side as the two played with a variety of AR-15-style airsoft guns that Alexander received for Christmas. When Clukey’s first airsoft pistol ran out of ammunition, he grabbed at his side for the second airsoft pistol, but grabbed his service pistol instead — and fired it at his 15-year-old’s head.
Clukey immediately called 911 and reported that his son was “playing with fake guns” and that “someone shot [him] with a real gun.”
While on the phone with dispatchers, Clukey could be heard telling his son, “I’m so sorry … Take me instead … Stay with me.”
Alexander was rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment of his injuries, which he succumbed to on Jan. 3.
Clukey was placed on administrative leave following the incident pending an internal investigation.
Wilmington District Attorney Brian David said that an investigation into the incident showed that Clukey believed he was grabbing the airsoft pistol rather than his holstered .45-caliber gun.
“There is no evidence that John Clukey intended the death or injury of Alexander Clukey,” David said. “No substantiated evidence of any domestic abuse or threats of abuse, or of any homicidal ideation or planning have been discovered. Everything about this incident shows a father who did not intend for this to happen.”
“Clukey, to be clear, should have been more careful than to have played an airsoft game while wearing a holster with a real firearm,” David added. “There’s no dispute about that.”
David concluded that the incident was nothing more than an “accidental shooting” as a “father and son were engaged in horseplay.”
“In the present instance there is insufficient proof that John Clukey acted in a negligent manner,” he said. “Accidents do happen.”
The district attorney added, “There is no question that the death of Alexander Clukey is a tragedy. By any objective measure, this is one of the most heartbreaking losses imaginable.”