The lawyer representing the family of a boy shot and killed by a friend in 2010 said the wrongful death lawsuit he has filed against the shooter and his father is not about money but about preventing other gun tragedies.
“Gun control is a major issue,” said attorney Richard Mogg of New York City.
Mogg is representing Oksana and Yuri Naumkin of Wilton, the parents of the deceased Nicholas Naumkin, in the civil case in state Supreme Court in Ballston Spa against Edward J. O’Rourke Jr. and his son.
Oral arguments on whether the now-14-year-old boy who pulled the trigger should be required to testify in the case were presented Thursday before state Supreme Court Justice Robert J. Chauvin.
Mogg said Monday the boy, whom The Gazette has chosen not to identify, must be examined under oath to get a full understanding of the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
Attorney Paul Briggs of Schenectady, representing Edward J. O’Rourke Jr. and his son, argued that the boy should be protected and not made to testify. Chauvin will rule on the issue at a later date.
Nicholas Naumkin was 12 when he was shot in the head Dec. 22, 2010, at O’Rourke’s home in Wilton. Police called the tragic incident an accidental shooting.
Police said the boys, who were home alone, were both “playing” with a handgun owned by Edward O’Rourke that they found in a bedroom drawer and ammunition found in another drawer. The 9mm Ruger discharged, killing Naumkin, an honor student at the Maple Avenue Middle School just north of Saratoga Springs.
‘living this horror’
The Naumkins, who maintain their son didn’t touch the handgun, filed the wrongful death lawsuit in the fall of 2011. The lawsuit alleges that the boy and his father, Edward O’Rourke, 59, formerly of Birchwood Drive in Wilton, “recklessly and/or carelessly and without justification caused the death” of Nicholas Naumkin.
Mogg said Monday that the Naumkins want to fully understand what happened Dec. 22, 2010, and see some type of “closure and justice” in the case.
“They are living this horror every day,” he said about his clients.
He said the Naumkins want to lobby the courts and government officials to stress the need for new laws regarding the “safe storage of guns” as it relates to the safety of children in a household.
“Guns are getting into the hands of the wrong people,” Mogg said about the Naumkins’ feelings.
The Naumkins have been in contact with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in Washington, D.C., about changing firearm laws and possible new gun control legislation.
The boy admitted in Saratoga County Family Court in the summer of 2011 that he shot his friend by accident while playing with the handgun. He admitted to a misdemeanor-level count of reckless endangerment and unlawful possession of a firearm by a person under 16. He was sentenced to two years’ probation and ordered to undergo counseling.
His father pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child last March in Saratoga Springs City Court. He was not sentenced to any jail time but agreed to forfeit his handgun, all other firearms, and his pistol permit. He was also charged $250 in court fees and ordered to provide a DNA sample for the state database.