AG will not pursue charges in shooting death of Santa Fe police officer’s son
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RIO RANCHO, N.M. — The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office will not pursue criminal charges in the shooting death of a Rio Rancho toddler.
Rio Rancho police believe a Santa Fe police officer’s four-year-old son got a hold of his gun and shot and killed his two-year-old little brother, Lincoln Harmon.
“At the time of this shooting, there was no specific legal duty for parents to secure their firearms accessible to children beyond the difficult-to-meet ‘reckless endangerment standard’ in the child abuse statute,” Deputy Attorney General Greer Staley wrote in a letter to the chief of the Rio Rancho Police Department.
Now, the state has the Bennie Hargrove Act – a law that holds gun owners responsible if a child gets a hold of a firearm and uses it in a crime – but that wasn’t on the books in 2021, and it cannot be enforced retroactively.
According to the letter, the boys’ father – Jonathan Harmon, the Santa Fe police officer – would keep a loaded gun on the top shelf of a kitchen cabinet when he was home.
However, on Dec. 8, 2021, his four-year-old son was able to climb on the counter, get the gun, and fire it at Lincoln, killing him.
This case was looked at by the previous attorney general, Hector Balderas, and again by the current attorney general, Raúl Torrez. They both came to the same conclusion.
No charges will be filed against the parents in this case. Santa Fe police say Harmon is still an officer with the department.