Content warning: viewers may find the details of this story upsetting
RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – It was a horrific accident – a Rio Rancho toddler was shot to death in his family’s kitchen. His father is a Santa Fe Police officer. Since that shooting in December, the city of Rio Rancho has refused to release even the most basic facts of the case.
Now, KRQE News 13 has the details of how a two-year-old lost his life in a shooting accident, including the fact that his father kept a loaded gun in the kitchen cupboard.
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Just after 8 on the morning of Dec. 8 in a Rio Rancho neighborhood, Jonathan Hernandez-Acevedo and Courtney Harmon found their two-year-old son Lincoln in the kitchen, unconscious and surrounded by blood. The distraught parents told dispatchers they weren’t sure what happened and thought he had fallen off a chair because he was missing teeth.
When police arrived, they found a shell casing and projectile on the kitchen floor next to their child. Jonathan would tell fellow officers he was a Santa Fe Police Officer.
So how was Lincoln shot? Where did the gun come from? Rio Rancho Police has refused to say. Months later, News 13 is finally learning what happened after the Attorney General’s Office released the public records of the investigation.
During police interviews, the parents explained they just had a newborn and were still sleeping while their two other kids, a four-year-old and two-year-old Lincoln, got up to play. They heard a loud noise and ran downstairs.
The parents were still confused and didn’t realize he had been shot. “I still didn’t know I didn’t want to believe as the gun I kept telling myself no he hit his chin… his chin and knocked himself out,” Jonathan said.
Jonathan explained he keeps a personal gun in the kitchen. “Take it off my body when we get home. I put it on the very highest top shelf in the kitchen. It’s the third shelf and it’s behind the coffee mug.”
The parents noticed a chair had been pushed up against the kitchen counter and believe the four-year-old may have been looking for gum, when he found the gun. “I don’t know if it was them fighting over it. I want to tell myself (redacted) wouldn’t shoot him,” Jonathan said.
The city of Rio Rancho says the district attorney, citing a conflict of interest, has passed the investigation onto the attorney general’s office. No one has been charged in the case.