Owner Of Gun In Accidental Teen Shooting Speaks Out For First Time

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A 15-year-old is shot and killed at a slumber party after another child finds a gun in the house. Tonight, the gun owner opens up to WJZ on the tragedy and the possibility he could face criminal charges.

Mike Hellgren spoke with the man who owns the gun.

15-year-old Michael Brooks was shot in the head during a sleepover in Cherry Hill.

Police say they will not file charges against the 11-year-old boy who pulled the trigger but have not ruled out charges against the gun’s owner, Richard Moore, a former corrections officer.

“There’s no winner. There’s no loser. There’s just hurting people. Everybody’s hurting,” said Moore.

In his first television interview, Moore tells WJZ he had 22 guns inside his house and kept them locked and unloaded in his bedroom. Police confiscated them all, and he’s not sure how the boys got into the room.

“I’ve been handling guns for over 40 years, through the Marine Corps, through the Army. 20 years in state service at the Patuxent Institution. I worked with the federal government. I’ve never had an incident with a handgun,” said Moore.

The victim’s uncle says someone should pay for what happened.

“Any parent who’s got a gun that’s not locked up out there ought to have their head examined,” he said.

Firearms instructor, Sgt. Brian Atwood tells WJZ this should serve as a warning of how weapons should be properly stored.

“They should not be accessible to children. I can’t emphasize that enough. They should be locked and secured at all times,” Atwood said.

“I’m sorry this whole incident happened, but there was no negligence involved,” said gun owner, Richard Moore. “If I could change places with that young man, I gladly would. I’ve lived my life.”

More from Mike Hellgren
Comments

One Comment

  1. Kaitna says:

    a 15 year old is not a child. A 5 year old is. Why that 15 year old didn’t know better is the parents fault. Come on people start taking responsiblilty for you own children. My child is 8 and she know to treat every gun as it was loaded. I don’t have to worry if she goes over a friends house she won’t play with their parents guns. Besides the man had them locked in his bedroom, those to got in there somehow. They knew they where up to know good. It’s a sad outcome and I’m sorry for the families loss.

    1. meila says:

      I think you have a great opinion, but he is a child, someone’s child just like you. Understand this also no 8 year old should be handling a gun that is negligent in one statement. I do believe we give our children to much freedom, but what if it was your 8yr old whom slip drop the gun that she decide to show how safe she could handle the gun and shot someone. We can’t speak on the subject unless the shoe was on the other foot, and you were burying a child, or facing the thought of know your child just took someone life. We have to be more responsible don’t judge unless you can honestly say what happen, or you have experience and can advise them on their hurting.

    2. Jenny says:

      kaitna just because we teach our children right from wrong doesn’t mean they always listen to what we preach.

      1. MzB says:

        Jenny while I agree with your statement it also doesn’t mean we then get to place blame on someone else! Accidents are accidents and just that alone. I agree totally these are not little kids and they knew better. Here we have a man who has worked his whole life, been responsible for others and we are telling him he doesn’t have a right to bear arms in his home, to protect himself and his family? It’s amazing the sense of entitlement people have these days, especially when they feel the need to dictate the life of others. This man was well within his rights to have a gun in his home to protect himself and his family. Let’s try not to place ‘blame’ just to make someone feel better here!

    3. Kimberly Blackwell says:

      that is so true them 2 children(boys)new they were getting into something they werent supposed to be doing as a 40 yr handler of guns that were supposed to be locked up unloaded 1-y didnt he teach his kids not to handle guns 2-howd the kids get in the room un lock it load the gun and pull the trigger and 3 where the hell was the father when them young kids were all over his house spending the night were they alone or wat dont worry the guy will get off hes a retired corrections officer hes got friends in low places!!!

    4. Dave says:

      The victim was 15. The person who pulled the trigger was 11. Did you read the article?

    5. RIP MICHAEL says:

      MICHAEL WAS 15 YEARS OLD HE WAS STILL A CHILD IT ISNT MICHAELS HOUSE WHERE THE GUN WAS AND MICHAELS FAMILY DOESNT OWN A GUN. MICHAEL DIDNT KNOW WHAT HAPPENED HE DIDNT EVEN SEE THE GUN SO HE WASNT PLAY WITH THE GUN

  2. ladonja says:

    Ppl have to look at this man history. He was military. Weapons were his life. We as parents have to monitor where we allow our kids to stay. We know our kids. I honestly believe if he could change places with this child he would. God bless them all!

    1. RIP MICHAEL says:

      YES HE WAS IN THE MILITARY THEREFORE HE SHOULD OF KNOWN BETTER AT LOCKING UP HES 22 GUNS

  3. hmmmm says:

    The sad part is they were locked up and un loaded and these kids knew how to load them. Looks to me this is not the first time they have played with guns, now this man is going to live the rest of his life with the guilt on his shoulders and was not even his fault. My daughter is 7 and knows not to go near guns and if there is a gun out where she knows its not suppose to be get the hell away!

    1. jh says:

      they could not have been too unloaded… how can a child figure out which bullets went to which gun, if all 22 guns were unloaded. the mans nephew loaded it and pulled the trigger. that is not an accident.

    2. tina says:

      kids?? really i bet if u check tht gun the only fingerprints on the gun is tht 11 yr old. theres no kidsss in this story. micheal is a kid tht knew guns werent toys. the true story is gonna come out sometime and we all noe who is gonna win this case forsure.

    3. RIP MICHAEL says:

      MICHAEL DIDNT KNOW WHAT HAPPENED HE DIDNT EVEN SEE THE GUN SO HE WASNT PLAY WITH THE GUN THE GUN OWNER SHOULD BE FULLY RESPONSIBLE ESPECIALLY WHEN THE TRUTH CAME OUT THAT THE SAME 11 YEAR BOY BOUGHT A GUN OUT SHOWING PEOPLE A FEW TIMES WELL HELLO IF HE GOT IT ONCE THEN THE UNCLE DIDNT DO A GOOD ENOUGH JOB LOCKING THE 22 GUNS UP AND THE NIGHT BEFORE IT HAPPENED WAS THE 1ST TIME MICHAEL MEANT THE BOY THE BOY WAS MICHAELS STEP-BROTHER FRIEND

      1. RIP MICHAEL says:

        IF THE UNCLE WOULD OF LEARNED THE 1ST TIME THE BOY BOUGHT THE GUN OUT THEN THIS WOULD OF NEVER HAPPENED AND MICHAEL WILL STILL BE HERE WITH HIS FAMILY THE PEOPLE WHO LOVES AND MISSES HIM SO MUCH

    4. tina says:

      first of all why are you saying these kids ? did you read the article ? have you seen the news ? the 15 year old didnt touch the gun idiot …. before you share your opinion gett your facts right ! it was the 11 year old who shot the 15 year old …. so obviously the 11 year old loaded it not both of them . so get it right .!!!!!!!

  4. DB of Joppa says:

    When someone is shot with a gun that had to be gotten from a locked room, then loaded, IT’S NO ACCIDENT!!

  5. Tom says:

    The children should have been educated in firearms safety,, the firearms should have been in a safe,, each firearm should have been individually locked,, too many SHOULDs here,, if ANY of them had been utilized,, the young man probably would be alive today. Lets start by EDUCATING children AND adults, it is the cheapest,, and most reliable way to prevent horrible things like this from happening

  6. Dan says:

    Kids are naturally curious about guns and if they don’t learn about proper gun safety from an adult, accidents like this will continue to happen!
    Kids need to learn that guns are not toys and they can never learn this from watching TV.

  7. Georgeanna Modlin says:

    This whole thing is sick. The kids should have been educated about guns and I feel sorry for both families. I just dont understand how the kids were able to get the key to unllock where the guns were kept or the ammo to load the gun. This tragedy has to have more answers to be resolved.

    1. Just Sayin' says:

      Case and point! Not one of us attended that sleepover. We don’t know how the guns were obtained. No one can point fingers at anyone until all the facts are presented. The gun owner has spoken publicly, something he did not have to do. He seems to have a very strong military backround which would include proper firearm safety. There is much information given in the media and on the internet that is accessible to any person. Who is to say that these kids didn’t learn how to pick locks and load guns that way? Just sayin’.

    2. tate says:

      Yup. Everybody keeps saying “lock your guns up.” What’s the point in owning guns when you can’t access them in times of an emergency? My dad had tons of guns when I grew up, none locked up. I was educated at a VERY young age about how guns can either be very dangerous, or very helpful, or fun to shoot safely. If you just leave them laying around and someone gets shot with it, you are at fault. But all of you anti-gun people will argue until blue in the teeth. Move to California if you want gun control, or better yet, move to another country, like England where you can barely even own guns.

  8. Dwayne Talkington says:

    If there parents didn’t own a gun why would their parent educated them on something not in their house? I could hear this as an argument, but I also have a justifiable reply, we don’t own guns but even with my sons toys I tell him to never point a gun at someone except with a few obvious exceptions like lazer tag games. I tell my son if he ever finds a gun to get an adult. Some things should be taught with common sense, the simple thing that guns are not a toy is the biggest lesson that needs to be taught.

  9. ex medic says:

    Is it me or does there seem to be more behind this story than what the press is telling us? Locked and unloaded weapons don’t magically get loaded and go off, killing a boy. 11 year-olds are old enough to know guns aren’t toys.

    1. wllharrington says:

      11 year olds and 15 year olds do not normally hang out togethher. The younger could have looked up to the older boy and , even if the older boy was trainerd in gun handling he could have been showing off to the younger and things went south.

      1. tina says:

        the 11 yr old was trained in guns not the 15 yr old rele get ur facts right

  10. d glen bunie says:

    the truth now comes out the other day everybody wanted the gun owner to be locked up and throw away the key . now you here his side and they all feel sorry for him . if what he says is true then we should he has to live in guilt the rest of his life over this. even though he had everygun locked up and unloaded he still gets the blame . I feel sorry for all families involved please bless them all

  11. E says:

    this man with his background should of known not to leave the gun so easy to get to when he has kids sleeping over i think he should be held responsible you dont even know if the 15 year old touched the damn gun

  12. letstellthetruth says:

    To start with there is no such thing as a unloaded gun,I dont really care about his background who in the hell needs that many guns in one home if he had money for all the guns how about having money for a good safe with only one key,none of this adds up yes the teenager should not have touched the gun at all,but anyone who believes that the gun owner is a saint because of military background is a true idiot,anyone and I repeat anyone who has the need for that many guns inside of their home needs to be checked out as a parent you usually do not tend to go looking in others peoples houses for guns before you let your kid spend the night-come on people lets wake up here A CHILD IS DEAD because of a F****** who felt the need to own 22 guns

    1. just sayin' says:

      People don’t NEED a fully stocked bar either, yet there have been teens who have died from that also. Maybe this man was a collector. Maybe they got hold the only gun he had ammo for. Maybe parents need to teach their children to respect other peoples’ property. How many kids are dead because some idiot decided to own a car that was “borrowed” by a kid who was too young to drive? Fault can be found on all sides.

    2. Amy says:

      You must not have read his statement, the guns were locked and unloaded in his bedroom that the kids had no business in. Those kids new they were not toys and knew they should not be touching stuff that did not belong to them. Maybe we should ask how many other times has that kid gotten into something he was not suppose to. People always want to blame gun owners when tragedy happens but no one wants to blame the person who was doing what they weren’t suppose to do.

      1. tina says:

        the 11 yr old lived in that house . not the fifteen yr old . micheal had no idea what was behind that locked door the 11 yr old did. stop saying those kds . if it were those kids they both wouldve been shot , micheal didnt touch the gun at all . you should really mind your business cause you dont know what really happened cause you werent there . and i garentee you would blame the gun owner if it was your fifteen yr old son , brother, cousin , bestfriend etc who got shot in someone elses house .

  13. e says:

    of first of all if he had the gun LOCKED in a safe how did the kid get it in the first place and secondly IF and i repeat IF the gun was unloaded as he claims…how in the hell did the other get shot…..um can someone explain that theory to me

  14. letstellthetruth says:

    @E all we know is quote unquote what the news is saying the real point here is that if myself as a parent decides to let my kids have other kids in my house it is MY RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE SURE THAT THERE IS NOTHING IN PLAIN SIGHT SUCH AS GUNS,ALCOHOL,DRUGS,ETC………this is why there are adults and there are children we as the adults are responsible to keep those things if we have them in our homes out of kids reach,as far as the 11yr old being taught not to touch things I do agree somewhat that he should not have touched the gun but once again WHY WAS THE GUN WHERE IT COULD BE GOTTEN TO- There is a part of the story we are not being told here but I still feel the OWNER OF THE GUN IS RESPONSIBLE AND SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUTABLE BOTH IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL COURT

  15. ifeelyou says:

    I completely agree with “e” and “letstellthetruth”. And regardless if the boy was 5 or 15 yrs old KAITNA, he was still a child and now a child that will never reach his 18th bday and become a man! If the gun/home owner had his guns and ammo “locked up” good enough, then I don’t believe there would be a child dead right now. It does sound like there is more to this story, but we don’t know what that is! I really do feel for both families, but hope that the gun owner will find a more effective way to store/lock up his guns. Especially if he plans on have children in the home. I understand that kids should repect other peoples property, and i agree 100%, but needless to say, children will be children (regardless of the age!!), and children tend to get curious (especially at this age!!). I myself am a parent of 15 yr old twins and a 11 yr old. I HAVE tought them on gun safety, but is it really good enough??!! I hope i will never have to find out. My prayers go out to both families…..

  16. ex medic says:

    Again, yes, the owner does bear some responsibility. But some of you automatically saying he needs to be locked up and the key buried need to understand that i at eleven knew not to touch what did not belong to me and especially if it was a weapon to leave it alone. Why is everyone looking at this as if it’s a case of 2 small children who were involved in this matter? Loaded out not, treat every gun as if it were loaded. Point the gun only at what you intend to shoot. These are two basic rules. Why is it assumed that this was not taught to the shooter or the victim?

    1. ifeelyou says:

      I personally don’t believe that this man needs to be locked up and the key be thrown away, and we deffinately don’t know what these 2 boys were tought about or if they were even tought anything on gun safety. Buuut once again, there is a 15 yr child that is dead now, because someone DIDN’T do SOMETHING right! I still believe that there IS still more to this story that we are not hearing. And regardless of this mans background on gun safety, if wasn’t good enough for 2 curious kids.

    2. ifeelyou says:

      This whole story is sad and i really don’t see any really good outcome. It just shocks me to know that these KIDS were left at a “sleepover”, UNATTENDED, with a house full of guns for these kids to get ahold of in the 1st place. Regardless of the kids ages and if the guns were truely “locked up” properly, these kids were left, apparently, by themselves with the guns in the home. Annnd needless to say, they got of ahold of the gun somehow, someway! Its really hard to say who should be “held accountable” or not held accountable, but the whold story just doen’t seem to add up!

  17. E says:

    i agree my kids friends come to my house all the time and that makes me responsible for them i have a safe that only i can get in to and if i had a gun thats where it would be

    1. ifeelyou says:

      This whole story is sad and i really don’t see any really good outcome. It just shocks me to know that these KIDS were left at a “sleepover”, UNATTENDED, with a house full of guns for these kids to get ahold of in the 1st place. Regardless of the kids ages and if the guns were truely “locked up” properly, these kids were left, apparently, by themselves with the guns in the home. Annnd needless to say, they got of ahold of the gun somehow, someway! Its really hard to say who should be “held accountable” or not held accountable, but the whold story just doen’t seem to add up!

  18. Big E says:

    i knew him since 5 th grade OMG i cant belive this would happen 2 him : ( R.I.P Micheal Brook

  19. letstellthetruth says:

    @E and ifeelyou,I did not mean to sound so harsh towards that owner of the gun,but there is a young man gone that will never get to live his life and there is a family that has lost a child,I will stick to the fact that as a parent when I allow my kids to have friends over in my eyes that makes me 100% responsible for their friends,again there is a part of the story that is missing,the guns should have been locked up where no one but the owner could get them,either which way something does not add up,My prayers and thoughts are with the family that lost a child

    1. ifeelyou says:

      I agree with you letstellthetruth.🙂

  20. You know it says:

    Hello all!!! I’m family of the victim and let me tell you, there’s slot more to what happen then they put out there in the media. There’s things u know bout this that is not in the media. I Wong specifically say since there is still an investigation out there. But let’s say if te victim was playing with the gun with the 11 year old. Why was the a gun shot to the head with NO exit wound??? It was from a distance, thats no accident. There’s a clip on the news channel with a little girl saying the boy brought out guns days before the accident showing the guns off he obviously had access to them, before the shotting. And the victim doesn’t live near the boy who shot him, the boy who shot him was a friend of his little brother. So the victim had no clue what he was getting into going over there. So don’t judge but only the little facts you know. Knowing the victim myself. He did not like guns he probably saw the boy have it n tried to get away, hence being shot from a distance. N if it was unloaded like police say then that right there says it was NOT. An accident the 11 year old should be charged with something

    1. RIP MICHAEL says:

      I AGREE AND IF THE GUN WAS UNLOADED AND THE OWNER HAD 22 GUNS HOW DOES A 11 YEAR OLD KNOW WHAT BULLETS GO TO WHAT GUN AND WHY DIDNT THE OWNER LOCK HIS GUNS UP BETTER WHEN THE 11 YEAR OLD GOT TO THEM BEFORE MAKES NO SINCE

  21. Tray says:

    I also know the boy very well & he would not be playing with a gun! He is a nice young man whose life was cut short because a man put his key where his 11 yr son knew it was! That is why the child loaded & shot Mike! How does an 11yr kid know how to load a gun???? This is what I think we should be asking????? RIP Mike! We LOVE YOU!

  22. letstellthetruth says:

    There is so many things wrong here the first and most important of all is a young man has lost his life,I have nothing against people having guns in their home for protection purposes as long as the gun and the bullets are kept locked away where no one but the owner can get to them,I am in my 40’s but when I was about 18 or 19 yrs old I found out that my father owned a gun and kept it for protection only in the same house I grew up in and I never had a clue that there was a gun in the house,alot of ,my friends found out when they had grown up that their parents were gun owners I am not against the gun in the house,HOWEVER I AM AGAINST 22 GUNS IN THE HOUSE EVEN MORE AGAINST IT WHEN YOUR 11YR OLD SON KNOWS YOU HAVE THE GUNS AND WHERE THEY AND THE BULLETS ARE KEPT AT-THEN TO BEAT ALL YOU LET YOUR KID HAVE FRIENDS OVER FOR THE NIGHT WITHOUT SAYING TO THE PARENTS BY THE WAY I OWN 22 GUNS AND I LET MY 11YR OLD PLAY WITH THEM,OH BUT DONT WORRY I HAVE A GOOD BACKGROUND BUT DONT WORRY I HAVE BEEN SHOWING MY 11YR OLD HOW TO USE GUNS I THINK HE KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING- AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED THE 11 YR OLD NEEDS TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE AS WELL AS THE GUN OWNER THERE SHOULD BE NO IF’S,N’S OR BUT’S ABOUT THIS -BOTH OF THEM NEED TO BE CHARGED -MIKE HAS LOST HIS LIFE BECAUSE OF A MAN OBESSESSED WITH GUNS THAT WAS SO OBSESSED WITH THEM HE COULD NOT WAIT TO LET HIS 11YR OLD PLAY WITH THEM,DO AND HAVE WHAT YOU WANT IN YOUR HOME WHEN THERE ARE NO KIDS BUT IN MY EYES LETTING AN 11YR PLAY WITH GUNS IS THE SAME AS PULLING THE TRIGGER YOURSELF THE GUN OWNER HAS TOOK MIKE’S LIFE AND HAS RUINED THE LIFE OF THE 11YR OLD

    1. RIP MICHAEL says:

      AGREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Jenny says:

    I am speechless.this is such a shamefull act on behalf of all parties.My child was never aloud to spend the night over anyone’s house growing up cause I never felt like I knew her friends parents well enough.She is almost 22 now and is a healthy young lady so she made it not spending nights over her friends.I just think as a parent we can not be with our kids 24/7 and all we can do is teach them right from wrong and pray they make the right choices in life.I do think that the 2 children that survived this need to go to some kind of therapy.Mike’s lil brother is soo torn up over this.I wish everyone peace.

  24. Greg says:

    .The guy who was watching the boys should have checked the gun and or taken it away from him. So he should be the one charged, if anybody gets charged in this sad situation, not the gun owner who was in another room and he said that he had the guns locked up

    1. ifeelyou says:

      Soooooo….. Both the gun owner and another guy was in the house when all this happened?????!!! Are you kidding me? See, I was under the impression that the boys were left at the home alone. But now your saying that there was another guy (man) and the gun owner in the house?? Well that changes alot of my opinions! I DO think that the gun owner should be held accountable and the other man that was in the home when all this happened!! This is so crazy!!

    2. ifeelyou says:

      If these men were in the darn home when all this happened and these boys were playing with loaded guns while they were there, THEN ALL THIS COULD OF BEEN PREVENTED!!! The gun owner went on the news to defend himself, but he never said that he was in the house the whole damn time! If they were in the house and the guns and ammo were so-called “locked up” in a locked room, then he could of prevented this! Those men aught to be asshamed of themselves! A boys life was ended and there were 2 grown men in that house who could of prevented it! I knew there was more to this story then we were told!

      1. RIP MICHAEL says:

        IT COULD OF BEEN PREVENTED HE SHOULD OF LOCKED HIS GUNS UP BETTER WHEN THE 11 YEAR GOT TO THEM BEFORE TAKING THEM OUTSIDE SHOWING THEM OFF IT WAS NO ACCIDENT A ACCIDENT CANT BE PREVENTED ANYWAY U LOOK AT IT BUT IT COULD OF BEEN PREVENTED SO THEREFORE IT WASNT A ACCIDENT THEY WERE LEFT HOME ALONE MICHAEL WAS STAYING AT HIS STEP-BROTHER’S FRIEND’S HOUSE MICHAEL DIDNT KNOW THE 11YRS OLD NOR DID MICHAEL KNOW THERE WAS A GUN MICHAEL NEVER SAW THE GUN TIL IT WAS TO LATE

    3. RIP MICHAEL says:

      UM IN THE OTHER ROOM WHO THE GUN OWNER UM NO THE KIDS WAS LEFT ALLOW

  25. letstellthetruth says:

    We never get told the whole story- but as I said earlier I grew up never knowing that my dad owned a gun he had it for protection purposes only and it stayed locked up and out of sight,after I was married and stopped by one day to see my parents mt dad had his gun out I said when did you buy that he said that he had it for years in case someone tried to brak in the house,my dad firgured since kids are curious that it was better not to even let us know he had a gun,ONCE AGAIN IT WAS LOCKED UP AND WE NEVER KNEW ABOUT IT,WHY WAS THIS 11YR OLD ABLE TO GET HIS HANDS ON A GUN THAT WAS LOADED IT SEEMS LIKE THE GUN OWNER JUST LEFT HIS GUNS LAYING AROUND -BACK TO THE SAME POINT THE PARENTS OF THE VICTIM I AM SURE WAS NOT EVER TOLD CAN YOUR KID SPEND THE NIGHT AT MY HOME/GUN SHOP IT TAKES NO IDIOT TO SEE THAT SOMETHING DONT ADD UP HERE,WHAT IN THE HELL ARE THE POLICE WAITING FOR THE OWNER OF THE GUN SHOULD BE CHARGED,THE VICTIM LOST HIS LIFE AND HIS FAMILY LOST A CHILD I DONT CARE IF THE OWNER OF THE GUN HAS A GOOD BACKGROUND OR NOT HIS BACKGROUND AND TRAINING MAKES IT WORSE IT IS DOUBLE THE REASON THAT HE SHOULD HAVE HAD THE GUNS LOCKED UP ALSO WHAT ABOUT THE NEWS CLIP WITH THE LITTLE GIRL THAT SAID THE 11YR OLD HAVE SHOWED KIDS OTHER GUNS BEFORE-THIS GUY NEEDS TO BE CHARGED THERE IS NO WAY CHARGES SHOULD NOT BE FILED-THIS IS SO SAD,PRAYERS ARE WITH THE VICTIMS FAMILY

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