Mesa County 15-year-old arrested after shooting death of friend

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Mesa County deputies investigate at the scene of a shooting that left a 15-year-old dead in Clifton. (Credit: Twitter / KKCO)

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — A 15-year-old was arrested on manslaughter charges this week after a handgun he was carrying for protection accidentally fired and killed his friend, another 15-year-old.

Landon Sarti was taken into custody in connection with the death of Brandon Crawford, according to KJCT-TV. In addition to the manslaughter charge, the TV station reported Sarti is also likely to be charged with a pair of misdemeanors.

Crawford died on Sunday, after suffering a single gunshot wound to the chest at a home just east of Grand Junction in Clifton, where the two had gathered with a group of friends.

One of the teens in the group lives at the house, and she told police that her father had not consented to the gathering, according to KJCT. She also told police both Sarti and Crawford had been drinking and smoking marijuana before the incident.

While Sarti told police he had been drinking, he did not admit to using marijuana. Sarti also told police he had been unloading the gun when it went off accidentally, a bullet striking Crawford in the chest.

Sarti said he had been carrying the small revolver for protection after being robbed earlier in the year, and Mesa County records do indicate the teen was the victim of a robbery in July, according to KJCT.

In Colorado, those under the age of 18 are not lawfully permitted to possess a handgun unless partaking in a safety course or shooting at a lawful target range, hunting with a valid state license or in the process of defending themselves after being given permission by a parent or legal guardian on that individual’s private property.

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