Gun owner charged after preschooler kills himself with pistol

Jayden Choate, 4, was unsupervised inside Daniel Henriksen's trailer when he found the homeowner's Glock (Photo: KWWL)

Jayden Choate, 4, was unsupervised inside Daniel Henriksen’s trailer when he found the homeowner’s Glock (Photo: KWWL)

An Iowa man was hit with weapons charges in federal court Tuesday after a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed himself in the gun owner’s home with his handgun.

Daniel Henriksen, 29, was charged with being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm as a result of an affidavit filed by an Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation agent concerning the fatal shooting of Jayden Choate in a trailer last June.

According to court documents, Henriksen was the owner of the trailer and the Glock 36 with which the unsupervised youth shot himself, but was not home at the time of the incident. The boy’s mother, who had permission to be there with her two other children, aged 3 years and 4 months respectively, was outside speaking with an individual on the porch while the children were inside.

The investigation determined that Choate had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head after finding the handgun near where he was taking a nap.

Choate’s death at the time made garnered national headlines, with news of the event being carried by People and the Daily Mail among others.

While Henriksen was not a felon at the time of the incident, as reported by the Associated Press, and was not charged with misdemeanor unsafe firearms storage under Iowa law, investigators found evidence that he was a marijuana user and, when asked, Henriksen confirmed he had smoked the drug the night prior to the fatal accident.

According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa, Henriksen faces a possible maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.

He is currently free on bond and is represented by the Federal Public Defender’s Office. Further court dates are pending.

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