POLSON, MONTANA — Galen Hawk, 26-years old, called himself Lonato Moran-Allen’s uncle. He lived with the boy’s parents, who were already preparing for Lonato’s fourth birthday three weeks later.
On October 22nd, Hawk had had a few shots of whiskey, and some hard lemonade. “I was buzzed,” he reported later. In his state of intoxication, Hawk set his .380 pistol down on an end table. He believed it was safe, since he’d at least had the presence of mind to put the magazine in his pocket.
Hawk left the room for a few minutes, and returned to find 3-year-old Lonato holding his gun. He casually took the gun away from the boy, who likely believed it to be a toy. That “toy” apparently put Lonato in the mood to play guns, because he went running out of the room and down the hallway, looking back and pretending to shoot at Hawk.
Hawk, caught up in a moment of playful, drunken stupidity pointed the unloaded toy at his the boy. Lonato, laughing, turned to run away. He never got the chance; Hawk’s aim was good.
The weapon discharged in a blast as he pulled the trigger, sending the chambered round down the hallway and straight into Lonato’s upper back, near his right shoulder. The bullet went laterally through the boy’s torso, and exited from the lower-left side of his chest.
Hawk immediately ran to him, and tried performing CPR. But he was beyond hope. On its way through Lonato’s chest, the bullet had gone almost directly through his heart and both lungs.
The boy’s parents came running from the other room, and rushed him to the nearby hospital. He was pronounced dead in the emergency room.
Police arrested Hawk on charges of negligent homicide. He was given a $100,000 bond, and requested to be allowed to attend Lonato’s funeral on Tuesday — yesterday, as of this writing.
There’s no news on whether he made it.