Who Is William Brown Of New Mexico, And What Did He Do? In a tragic incident that shook the small town of Questa, New Mexico, William Brown, a 39-year-old father, found himself at the center of a devastating event that resulted in the death of a 13-year-old girl. This incident, which unfolded on a fateful Friday afternoon in late July 2023, has not only raised questions about gun safety but also led to the first-ever charge under a new New Mexico law aimed at holding individuals accountable for improperly storing firearms. In this article, we delve into the details surrounding William Brown’s involvement in this heart-wrenching case.
The Tragic Day
On July 30, 2023, at approximately 2:30 p.m., a group of four juveniles, including a 14-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl, were gathered at the boy’s home in Questa, New Mexico. They were hanging out, enjoying music, and seemingly oblivious to the impending tragedy. The teen boy, whose identity has been withheld, suddenly pointed a firearm at the 13-year-old girl and, without warning, pulled the trigger. The gunshot reverberated through the quiet neighborhood.
The New Mexico Department of Public Safety quickly responded to the incident, issuing a news release detailing the horrifying events that had transpired. Tragically, the young girl was fatally wounded, and in a horrifying turn of events, the teenage boy dragged her lifeless body outside and returned to the house.
The Standoff and Arrest
As authorities descended upon the scene, another unsettling revelation came to light. William Brown, the father of the 14-year-old boy, had been absent during the initial incident but returned home shortly afterward. Instead of cooperating with the police, both father and son refused to exit the house, resulting in a tense standoff that lasted for a harrowing 30 minutes. This standoff with state police ultimately led to the arrest of both individuals.
In the aftermath of this traumatic event, the legal consequences began to unfold. The 14-year-old boy, whose identity remains undisclosed, was charged with an open count of first-degree murder and two counts of tampering with evidence. Additionally, he faced two counts of assault on a police officer, although the specific circumstances surrounding these charges were not immediately clarified by the public safety department.
William Brown, on the other hand, found himself facing legal repercussions as well. He was charged with negligently making a firearm accessible to a minor, a charge stemming from allegations that he had firearms within his home that were not stored securely. This charge marked the first application of Bennie’s Law in New Mexico.
Bennie’s Law: A New Legal Framework
Bennie’s Law, the legal framework under which William Brown was charged, was established in response to a tragic incident involving another minor. Named after Bennie Hargrove, this law was enacted to hold individuals accountable for failing to store firearms in a secure manner, away from the reach of children. Bennie Hargrove, a middle school student in Albuquerque, lost his life when he was shot at school by another student who had accessed his father’s unsecured firearm. This devastating incident prompted the creation of Bennie’s Law, which seeks to prevent such tragedies by imposing legal consequences on those who do not properly store their firearms.
The Court Appearance
William Brown’s legal journey began when he appeared before a judge in Questa, New Mexico. The court session, which took place on August 23, 2023, was significant not only for Brown but for the entire community. During the hearing, there were no immediate details provided regarding how Brown had stored his firearm. The law, however, allows for exceptions, stating that it is not a violation if the gun was kept in a location that a reasonable person would believe to be secure when obtained by a minor.
In a somber courtroom, William Brown chose to remain silent, his only response being a subtle shake of his head when the discussion turned to whether he should be barred from contacting his 14-year-old son. The judge, Jeffery Shannon, postponed making this decision until his son’s hearing, scheduled for the following day. While Brown was not remanded in jail, he was prohibited from possessing any firearms during the wait for his trial.
The tragic incident and subsequent legal proceedings have left the small town of Questa grappling with a profound sense of sorrow and disbelief. Questa Village Mayor John Anthony Ortega expressed his condolences on social media, stating, “I am saddened by the tragedy that happened yesterday. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families, community members, and first responders who were affected by it.” The victim’s name has been withheld out of respect for her grieving family.
The Ongoing Investigation
As the community mourns and attempts to come to terms with the tragedy, law enforcement agencies continue their investigation into the incident. Information gathered is expected to be turned over to the district attorney’s office, where legal proceedings will determine the course of justice in this deeply distressing case. The questions surrounding how the firearm was accessed and why the 14-year-old boy pulled the trigger remain central to the ongoing investigation.
Bennie’s Law is a legal framework in New Mexico designed to hold individuals accountable for improperly storing firearms, especially when accessible to minors. It was enacted in response to the tragic shooting of Bennie Hargrove, a middle school student, by another student who had accessed his father’s unsecured firearm.
The 14-year-old boy was charged with an open count of first-degree murder, two counts of tampering with evidence, and two counts of assault on a police officer, although specific details regarding the latter charges have not been disclosed.
William Brown was charged with negligently making a firearm accessible to a minor, marking the first application of Bennie’s Law in New Mexico.
The Questa community expressed profound sadness and condolences, with Questa Village Mayor John Anthony Ortega offering his thoughts and prayers to the affected families, community members, and first responders.
Law enforcement agencies are actively investigating the incident, with information expected to be provided to the district attorney’s office, where further legal proceedings will determine the course of justice.