35-year-old Justin Thomas, of Phoenix, Arizona, and his 4-year-old son made an unannounced trip Friday to visit a friend in Prescott, Arizona. Just minutes after arriving in the home, the boy found a loaded, unlocked handgun. He picked up the gun, asked a question about it, then pulled the trigger.
Thomas was shot in the chest. He was taken to the local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Thomas is an Army special forces veteran who served in Iraq.
A man who lives next door to where the shooting occurred said his neighbor kept a loaded gun for protection.
"This appears to be an accident," said a police spokesperson. "There was no conflict in the stories of those in the house. The resident didn't know his former roommate was stopping by to visit. We want to remind people without making a villain of this person, that if a child is visting our home, the first thing to do would be put the firearm away."
Police do not expect to file any charges against the gun owner.