Elroy Police Chief Tony Green will not face criminal charges related to the Dec. 4 accidental shooting of his then 3-year-old son.
A Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation report determined the boy had shot himself with his father's service weapon.
In a letter, Sauk County District Attorney Kevin Calkins said the potential charges against Green of child neglect and recklessly storing a firearm could not be proven and he chose not to pursue them. “The Chief, like many parents before him have done, left his son unsupervised in a running car for a very short period of time, mere minutes, while he was mere steps away,” Calkins said. “That the child was able to find the loaded, but hidden, gun and shoot himself during that short time was unusual and not reasonably foreseeable.”
According to the investigation, the incident took place while Green was working on a farm near Elroy. He had placed his 9mm Glock handgun in the unlocked center console of his 2017 Chevrolet Silverado and briefly left the three year old in the vehicle, who was “in his booster seat playing with a flashlight,” before the shooting.
Green retrieved an egg carton from the porch of his house, checked on the boy, picked up eggs and fed some chickens. He estimated the process took about two minutes. After he put the egg carton in the front seat and was walking around the back of the truck, he “heard a ‘pop’ and a scream from inside the truck.”
Green observed the child had a tear in his shirt and a small amount of blood. He put pressure on the wound and called 911. Green placed the gun in his back pocket and later requested a deputy take possession of the firearm.
An Elroy Ambulance EMT observed Green holding the victim. He rode in the ambulance with the child to the hospital. Green also volunteered to have blood drawn to show he did not have drugs or alcohol in his system.
Green declined to comment on the shooting or the findings of the investigation.
In an interview with a Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation special agent, Green said he normally keeps his gun locked up in a different area of the vehicle but left it in a more accessible location because a nearby substation had been burglarized two nights in a row and he expected he would need to respond to a sudden emergency call.
The agent observed a hole in the left side of the passenger seat backrest. A second hole was observed in the front of the backrest, showing the bullet passed through the seat and came to rest on the passenger-side floorboard.
Other ammunition and magazines were found “in various areas of the truck, however, the ammunition was of different calibers and not related to the shooting incident.”
Juneau County Sheriff Brent Oleson requested DCI investigate the incident because Green is a former deputy of the Juneau County Sheriff’s Department.
Calkins commended Green for his cooperation during the investigation.