MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Harrison County Prosecutor Joe Shaffer said Tuesday he will seek criminal indictment of a Jarvisville woman who shot her 11-year-old grandson to death while firing a weapon in the dark at suspected intruders.
One of the bullets from the .40-caliber handgun pierced the wall of her son's home about 200 yards away, striking William Owens in the chest as he lay in bed.
Shaffer said it was a difficult but necessary decision in a case that could have resulted in injuries to people other than the child. He said he will ask a grand jury to consider charges against 57-year-old Tina Owens when it meets in September.
"It's an important public issue, particularly concerning the responsibility that comes along with exercising your Second Amendment rights," Shaffer said. "I would like 16 Harrison County citizens to consider that."
Sheriff Albert Marano said the family's homes are in a rural part of north-central West Virginia, and both Tina Owens and her son went outside late Sunday night when they heard what they thought were intruders.
Tina Owens then fired multiple shots to scare them off.
It's unclear whether there were any intruders. Marano said deputies found no one else at the scene when they arrived.
Marano said other children were in the home at the time, but no one else was hurt.
"It's very difficult," the prosecutor said, "but I have to also consider, What if somebody else had been shot rather than her grandson?
"I realize that the death of her grandson is something she's going to have to live with the rest of her life," he said, "but in any community, this is possible if people aren't responsible gun owners."
Shaffer said the boy's parents will have input at some point, as would any victim's family.
He said he won't present the case until September to give the family time to pay their respects and bury the child.
Neither Jarvis home has a published telephone listing.