Father charged criminally after 3-year-old son shot himself in the face

EVERETT -- The father of a 3-year-old Lake Stevens boy, who shot himself in the face with his dad’s handgun, will now face criminal charges.

The Everett Herald reports that Jon Holzwarth is accused of reckless endangerment, a gross misdemeanor.

The injured boy named Michael has made an astonishing recovery; luckily the bullet didn’t damage anything vital. But some of his neighbors wonder that a misdemeanor charge isn’t enough to teach his father a lesson.

Q13 FOX News obtained x-ray images that show the bullet lodged into Michael’s head. Half of his teeth on his upper jaw are gone and he’ll likely need more surgeries and speech therapy throughout his life. Michael’s parents said their boy's quick recovery is miraculous only 3 months after the shooting.

Jon Holzwarth declined an on-camera interview with Q13 FOX News. He said off-camera that Michael was inside a locked bedroom playing with a friend when he was shot last November.

Jon said somehow his child got a hold of his .38 caliber handgun from on top of a 6-foot-tall dresser and pulled the trigger.



Michael was airlifted to Harborview in Seattle in critical condition.

Neighbors were astonished the boy could even reach the weapon.

“I’m just relieved to hear he’s being charged with something,” said Kim Hasseler. “I feel really strongly that he has a right to own a gun, but that child had a right to be in a safe home and he put his child in danger by having a 3-year-old you know running around with guns accessible.”

“I can’t believe that they would leave 2 kids in a room with a loaded gun,” said Buzz McLeod.

Even though Michael has recovered quickly, neighbors wonder if his father should be facing a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

“A felony might be poetic justice,” said Hasseler. “Maybe then he couldn’t own any more guns.”

Michael’s parents said they feel lucky that he wasn’t more seriously injured in the shooting.

Jon Holzwarth said he plans to fight the prosecutor’s decision by pleading not guilty to the charge.