Texas boy, 10, confesses to fatally shooting a sleeping man when he was 7, authorities say

A 10-year-old Texas boy confessed he used his grandfather’s gun to fatally shoot a sleeping man in 2022, a week before his 8th birthday, according to the Gonzales County Sheriff’s Office.

The homicide investigation into the death of Brandon O’Quinn Rasberry, 32, who was shot once in the head in January 2022 at an RV park in Nixon, Texas, had gone cold until the child’s recent comments about a man he had shot and killed two years ago, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

“All possible witnesses were spoken to and interviewed by investigators during the investigation and all leads were exhausted,” the release states.

On April 12, a Nixon-Smiley Consolidated Independent School District principal told Gonzales County authorities the elementary school student had threatened to assault and kill another student on a school bus the previous day, prompting them to conduct a threat assessment, according to the release.

School district officials informed the responding deputy the 10-year-old had made comments about shooting and killing a man two years ago, according to the release.

Gonzales County’s criminal investigators determined, based on what the child shared at school, he may have knowledge about Rasberry’s death.

The school district’s superintendent, Jeff Van Auken, said in an April 18 letter addressed to parents obtained by CNN affiliate KSAT-TV the child would not be returning to the school.

During a forensic interview at a child advocacy center, the child “provided information that was consistent with first-hand knowledge of the homicide of Brandon Rasberry,” according to the release.

Authorities reported the child said he was visiting his grandfather, who lived in the same RV park as Rasberry, on January 16, 2022, the release states.

After obtaining a pistol he found in the glove box of his grandfather’s truck, the child told investigators he entered Rasberry’s RV, according to the release.

Authorities said the child stated he had never met Rasberry though had seen him walking around the RV earlier that day.

The child told investigators he saw Rasberry sleeping, approached him and fired a shot, striking the man once in the head, according to the Gonzales County Sheriff’s Office.

“The child stated as he was leaving the RV he discharged the firearm another time into the couch inside the RV,” the release states.

The child told authorities he then left the RV and returned the firearm to the truck’s glove box.

“The child was also asked if he was mad at Brandon for some reason or if Brandon had ever done anything to him to make him mad, the child stated no,” according to the Gonzales County Sheriff’s Office’s news release.

The child said his grandfather had pawned the gun, which investigators tracked down at a pawn shop in Seguin, Texas, on April 12, the release states.

The Gonzales County Attorney’s Office, Texas Department of Child Protective Services and Gonzales County Juvenile Probation joined the investigation.

A forensic analysis and comparison of two spent shell casings found at the scene of the homicide determined the pawned gun was the same firearm used to kill Rasberry, according to authorities.

Because of the severity of the crime and because of the continued concern for the child’s mental wellbeing the child was placed on a 72-hour emergency detention,” according to the sheriff office’s news release.

The child was taken to a psychiatric hospital in San Antonio, Texas, for evaluation and treatment and later taken to the Gonzales County Sheriff’s Office, where authorities said he was booked on charges related to the school bus incident for making a terroristic threat.

“The child was placed in detention by Gonzales County Juvenile Probation to await his court date at a later time,” the release states.

In Texas, a child can’t be legally held responsible for a criminal act before reaching 10 years old. Because the child was 7 years old at the time of Rasberry’s death, the Gonzales County Attorney’s Office will not file or accept murder charges in the case, according to the Gonzales County Sheriff’s Office.

CNN has reached out to the Texas Department of Public Safety for comment.

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