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DCF faults father for gun access in shooting death

By Staff | Feb 7, 2009

The Department of Children and Families has concluded an investigation into a Cape teen’s access to firearms which police said resulted in the death of the teen’s friend, 14-year-old Colton Hutchinson. The agency determined the teen’s father was at fault as a caregiver.
DCF found that David Casman, 49, allowed his 12-year-old son access to firearms within his home and determined there was inadequate supervision and threatened harm, according to department spokesperson Erin Gillespie.
“For a child to have access to a weapon is not something we investigate very often, much less that ends in tragedy,” she said. “That is very rare. That’s why parents need to be sure that if they have weapons in the home that they’re put away and children don’t have access to them.”
Police alleged the 12-year-old was handling a gun when it accidentally discharged and fatally wounded Hutchinson Dec. 8.
Casman was initially charged with culpable negligence in the incident by Cape police, but the State Attorney’s Office dropped the charge, saying detectives violated Casman’s constitutional rights during an interview.
Gillespie said the DCF investigation is not related to the criminal investigation into Hutchinson’s death.
“All we are looking into is the child that had access to the weapon in the family,” she said.
The department will not remove children from the home, but will work with the family to eliminate the threat of harm. The family also will be offered counseling due to the tragedy which surrounds the incident, Gillespie said.
The last case of this nature DCF investigated was in 2005 when 2-year-old Philip Blasone accessed his father’s firearm and fatally shot himself, she said. The child’s father, also named Philip Blasone, 42, of Fort Myers was found guilty of aggravated manslaughter of a child in the incident, according to County Clerk documents.