Texas boy was 7 when he fatally shot a man he didn't know, child tells law enforcement

On Jan. 18, 2022, a 7-year-old child took a pistol from his grandfather's truck, walked into a recreational vehicle in Texas and fatally shot a sleeping man he didn't know. That's the account of Brandon O'Quinn Rasberry's death, as told to law enforcement by the alleged killer — now a 10-year-old boy.

The child's confession was shared this week by the Gonzales County Sheriff’s Office as an update in their investigation into Rasberry's killing, who was 32 when he died in his RV home in Nixon, Texas, just east of San Antonio.

According to Texas law, the child was too young when the crime occured to face charges, the sheriff's office said.

“At the time of the murder the juvenile suspect was seven years old, one week shy of his 8th birthday,” according to the release. “Therefore charges for murder will not be filed.”

However, authorities have charged the child in connection with a recent incident where he allegedly threatened another student. The sheriff's office says that threat soon spiraled into the confession of Rasberry's killing.

According to the confession, the boy had no known reason to kill Rasberry: "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."

The office didn't name the child.

Child says he killed Texas man in 2022

The sheriff's office said the child's confession came after school officials at Nixon Smiley Independent School District said the boy had referenced the killing and made new threats. That's when school officials involved law enforcement, who interviewed the child at a child advocacy center.

“During the interview the ten year old child described in detail that two years ago he shot and killed a man in a trailer in Nixon, Texas,” the sheriff’s office wrote.

The boy told law enforcement he didn’t know Rasberry nor was angry at him at the time of the shooting. He was visiting his grandfather, at the mobile home park, according to the sheriff’s office, and grabbed a gun from his grandfather’s truck.

“The Child stated he observed Brandon sleeping in his bed and approached Brandon and discharged the firearm into Brandon striking him one time in the head,” the office wrote. “The child stated as he was leaving the RV he discharged the firearm another time into the couch inside the RV.”

Law enforcement later retrieved the gun as evidence from a pawn shop and collected shell casings from the mobile home park. The boy has undergone mental health evaluation and treatment, the sheriff's office said.

Who's responsible when a child shoots someone?

Many states have minimum ages in which law enforcement can charge children with crimes. For example, Florida allows a child to be charged at age 7, while Maryland's minimum age is 13. States often have exceptions for certain violent crimes.

In a social media post, the Gonzales County Attorney’s Office said Texas law doesn’t have criminal culpability for children until they are at least 10 years old. Because the child was 7 when he allegedly killed Rasberry, Texas prosecutors did not charge the boy in the killing.

Adults are sometimes charged after a young child commits a violent act.

In January 2023, a 6-year-old Virginia student shot an elementary school teacher. Police described it as an intentional shooting after the child and the teacher had an "altercation" in a first-grade classroom.

In that case, the child's mother was sentenced to two years in prison for felony child neglect and assistant principal of the Virginia was been charged with eight counts of felony child abuse.

In 2000, the killing of 6-year-old Kayla Rolland by her classmate, a boy who was also 6, gained widespread attention about gun safety in the U.S. The boy took a gun to their Michigan school and fatally shot her, the news outlet MLive.com reported.

Officials never charged the boy with her death. However, a Michigan judge sentenced a man to prison for involuntary manslaughter for storing the gun in a shoe box that was accessible to the boy in the house where they both lived, MLive.com reported.

Contributing: Eduardo Cuevas, Cybele Mayes-Osterman and Jeanine Santucci; USA TODAY.

Contact reporter Krystal Nurse at knurse@USATODAY.com. Follow her on X, formerly Twitter, @KrystalRNurse.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Texas boy says he fatally shot a man when he was 7: Sheriff’s office