Kent County Attorney Chris Becker alleges the costs of grandpa’s 13-year death were assessed by Gabriel Hojnacki’s boyfriend. outdated’s Becker claims the older man is accused of accidentally killing “the boy” in the Western Grand area of Grand Rapids in May.
George Jay Gross Jr., 60, accidentally left a gun on a bedside table where children could get it, according to court documents. The suspect would reportedly serve the next 15 years of his life in prison if found guilty.
A look into the accidental death of Gabriel Hojnacki
On May 28, 2022, Gabriel Hojnacki visited his friend’s grandpa at his home on Alpine Avenue. Hojnacki was killed by the two children’s toy gun they were playing with when it accidentally shot him in the chest. After receiving emergency aid, he was later pronounced dead.
A Grand Rapids Police Department detective testified in court on the day of the incident regarding a possible set-off document. The officer alleged that Gross Jr.’s grandson, who is currently serving as an adult, broke into the former’s bedroom and removed the gun from the bedside table. For this reason, it is likely that the youth was shot.
According to an affidavit, Gross’ grandson was sitting on the couch and Gabriel Hojnacki was standing in the doorway between the living room and the kitchen. Hojnacki’s friend reportedly later told police that he was only carrying the gun in one hand when it was fired, preventing him from thinking about pulling the trigger.
Gross claimed that when he opened fire, the children next to him were playing around with his .45-caliber revolver. He further admitted the firearm was kept in his bedroom in an open dresser while he was at work. In response to Gross’s grandson, the gun was found on the bedside table.
According to court documents, police also found two other firearms in a hidden drawer along with a handgun in the nightstand drawer. After the pistol was found with the cartridge in the chamber, Gross told police he couldn’t remember whether he kept it there or not. He claimed he believed all the guns were stolen.
The 60-year-old also admitted in an affidavit that he may have only spoken out about the firearms a few years ago. Gross complained that his adult son was distressing him and trying to enter his property without permission.
An attorney for Gabriel Hojnacki’s family, Bradley Peri, commented on the situation, calling it “a terrible tragedy that should not have happened”. He said the family is glad Gross, the gun’s owner, is facing consequences.
Peri continued by emphasizing that although Gabriel cannot be saved, if the tragedy had the potential to cause a gun owner to change his behavior and save a life, his death would not have been ineffective.
While it’s true that people have the right to own private firearms, he added they also have a responsibility to keep them locked and empty. Peri explained that these measures would only serve to protect children and prevent future tragedies like Gabriel’s death.