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Brother Acquitted of Boy’s Endangerment in Shooting : Courts: Youth failed to keep stolen gun away from preschooler. The reputed gang member is convicted of stolen weapons charge.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A reputed gang member whose stolen gun was used to wound his 4-year-old brother was acquitted of felony child-endangerment Thursday but convicted of a stolen weapons charge that could put him in state custody for three years.

In acquitting the 17-year-old Garden Grove resident, Juvenile Court Judge Robert B. Hutson found his actions did not amount to criminal negligence, defense attorney Kenneth A. Reed said.

Reed quoted Hutson as saying that in order to convict the youth, he would have to conclude that every parent whose son or daughter was accidentally killed with a parent’s gun was guilty of child endangerment.

After an hourlong trial, Hutson did find the teen-ager guilty of one count of felony possession of the stolen .357 magnum revolver used in the May 9 shooting, Reed said. The young man faces a maximum of three years in custody when he is sentenced Aug. 28.

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Deputy Dist. Atty. Robin Park declined to discuss the trial, noting that reporters had been barred from the courtroom.

Investigators said the teen-ager, a purported Vietnamese gang member whose name has been withheld because he is a juvenile, left his 5-year-old and 4-year-old brothers alone in their home and left the loaded gun on his bedroom floor near his bed.

When he returned, he found the younger boy, Charles Dolan, bleeding profusely from a bullet wound to the chest. Police said that while playing cops-and-robbers, Charles had pointed a toy gun at his brother, who then fired the stolen gun, thinking that it, too, was a toy.

The 4-year-old was hospitalized at UCI Medical Center’s intensive care unit but has since recovered from his wound. Reed said a conviction on the child-endangerment charge was difficult because no evidence was introduced to prove exactly where the 5-year-old found the gun. Without that information, the judge could not conclude that the teen-ager was responsible, Reed added.

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Police later learned that the revolver had been stolen from a Cypress home on Feb. 22.


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