Authorities probe death of police officer’s son
A family is in mourning and Allegheny County Homicide detectives are investigating the shooting death of a police officer’s child in Liberty.
Liberty police Chief Luke Riley said Gavin Thompson, 5, son of officer John Thompson who is on the police force in Liberty and Port Vue, was transported to UPMC McKeesport Friday afternoon with a bullet wound to his upper body after the boy apparently shot himself with his father’s service pistol.
Gavin was pronounced dead at the hospital later that day. Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office declined to release information about the boy by presstime.
“Distraught does not begin to cover it,” Riley said after responding to the call for the shooting incident shortly after noon at Thompson’s home along F Street in Liberty.
Allegheny County police Superintendent Charles Moffatt also went to the scene, and county police are handling the investigation, Riley said.
Liberty Mayor Edward Slater said he heard of the tragedy through Riley Friday evening.
“I know Mr. Thompson very well because he’s worked for us for several years,” the mayor said.
“He’s a very efficient cop and very nice person. It’s tough to take. In my 47 years I’ve been in office up here, I’ve never had to deal with something like this.,” he added. “It’s unfortunate something like this happened. I hope Officer Thompson handles it well.”
Thompson is married and has four other children. He has served as a part-time Liberty officer for the past 10 years, and has served as a full-time officer in Port Vue for five years.
Riley said Thompson has been put on administrative leave. It was not immediately clear how the boy found his father’s weapon, or whether it was secured at the time.
Tribune-Review News Service contributed to this story.