TUCUMCARI, N.M. (KRQE) – In October 2015, Patrick Gonzales was killed. His death preceded his graduation from Tucumcari High School, and countless other life events he never had the chance to live.

“He was 17 when he died. He hardly had the chance to begin down his path,” said Matthew Vance, an attorney representing the Gonzales family.

Gonzales’ death was accidental. On October 1, 2015, court documents show Jordan Walker drove over to Patrick Gonzales’ home. While in the driveway, Walker went to show Gonzales his 22.250 Remington Rifle.

At the time, Gonzales was in the driver’s seat of his car. In the passenger’s seat was Walker’s younger brother, Josh.

According to documents, Walker was handing the rifle to Gonzales “barrel first” and the “gun slipped, his finger engaged the trigger and the gun unintentionally discharged.”

The shot killed Gonzales and seriously injured Walker’s younger brother, Josh.

“He failed to unload the firearm, he failed to check and clear the firearm, he failed to engage the safety on the firearm. He then pointed the firearm in the direction of another person, he failed to maintain control of the gun and failed to keep his finger off the trigger. Before anything else had happened, Jordan Walker violated at least half a dozen rules of basic gun safety,” said Vance.

Tenth Circuit District Attorney Timothy Rose decided to not prosecute this case, which led to the Gonzales family filing a wrongful death lawsuit against Walker, the owners of the gun, and the owner’s of the property the shooting happened on.

“Gun ownership comes with responsibility and one of those responsibilities ought to be that before you give someone your gun you need to make sure they know how to safely handle it. In this case, we’re concerned about the matter in which Jordan Walker was given this gun because it’s clear from the facts that he did not know how to safely use it,” said Vance.

Rose did not return KRQE News 13’s request for comment. However, letters exchanged between Rose, Albuquerque District Attorney Hector Balderas, Henry Valdez (former DA for the 1st Judicial District and now Director of the Administrative Office of the District Attorneys), Barbara Romo (Chief Deputy District Attorney for 13th Judicial), and Tom Clayton (District Attorney for 4th Judicial District), help show why this decision was made.

All five district attorneys are in agreement to not prosecute Walker for the death of Gonzales. They cite “no physical evidence,” “no eye witnesses,” and overall “no evidence to support the theory of intentional killing.”

They also say that in order to successfully prosecute Walker they would have to prove his mental state at the time of the shooting, and say they had “insufficient evidence” to prove Walker was “consciously aware of and considered the risk of his actions.”

Further, the letters imply they do not believe Walker was fully responsible for the death, saying “evidence shows prior to the discharge, Patrick grabbed the barrel of the firearm and pulled it, which was a contributory charge of the unintended discharge.”

The Gonzales family decided to move forward with this wrongful death charge in civil court because they feel it is the only alternative left to get justice for their son.

“I think the civil lawsuit is an opportunity to give voice to Pat and what happened to him and to make sure that those responsible are held responsible,” said Vance.

Vance says it will likely be at least a few years before this case goes to trial.

KRQE News 13 reached out to the attorney for all six defendants listed in the wrongful death lawsuit, but did not hear back.

The defendants are: Jordan Walker who fired the gun; Lynette Walker, Donald Lee Walker and Donna Walker, owners of the gun; James Rivera Jr. and Tonja Rivera, owners of the property.

Patrick Gonzales is remembered as a funny, loving, smart and athletic teenager who had his entire life ahead of him.