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Phoenix police investigating rise in accidental shootings involving teens, young adults

Phoenix police say these kinds of tragedies are preventable and can be avoided. Officers suggest parents talk to their kids about guns and gun safety.
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 6:18 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- So far this month, Phoenix police have investigated three separate shootings involving victims between 14 and 18 years old.

On Sunday, Phoenix police blocked off a neighborhood near 71st Avenue and Thomas Road. According to court documents, the victim, 18-year-old Brian Lujan, was taken to a hospital and later died after being shot in the neck. Police say his friend, Sergio Lopez Ruiz, was arrested and faces charges of manslaughter.

“It doesn’t seem like it’s a big deal, it’s just this small object, but if you handle one carelessly, someone can die,” Sgt. Williams said. “Also, when the dust settles, there could also be legal consequences.”

According to a recent report on accidental gun deaths in the United States, they happen mainly to those under 25 years old.

Sgt. Williams with the Phoenix Police Department says he recommends safety courses for those old enough to own a gun. But for other cases that involve younger kids, he says it’s the responsibility of parents to protect them. “Kids are curious about things, so if you can de-mystify it, maybe give them a little weapon safety class,” Sgt. Williams said. “But ultimately, you do need to control access to it that way; we’re not running into these unfortunate situations where people are getting hurt.”

Last week, police say a 14-year-old was shot and killed by his friend playing with a gun. One week before that, another teen boy died near 47th Avenue and Thomas Road. Police say in that case, a 16-yeard old boy attempted to unload a gun when he accidentally shot his friend, who was just 17 years old.

“The best thing you can do for teenagers is to tell them to remove themselves from the situation. I know it can be hard for kids that are trying to fit in with their kids; maybe one of their friends has a gun, and they think it’s cool. You don’t have to make a big deal out of it,” said Sgt. Williams.