Lake County Man Denies Homicide Charge in Toddler Shooting

Galen Hawk appeared in Lake County District Court on Nov. 5

By Justin Franz

POLSON – The 26-year-old Lake County man who allegedly shot and killed a 3-year-old boy while drunk has pleaded not guilty to negligent homicide.

Galen Hawk of Ninepipes appeared in Lake County District Court on Nov. 5, exactly two weeks after he allegedly shot Lonato Moran-Allen in the back.

According to court documents, Hawk, who is not related to the victim but was living in the same house, had been drinking whiskey and Mike’s Hard Lemonade on Oct. 22 when he saw the toddler playing with his gun. Hawk took the gun away from Moran-Allen and the boy started shooting a toy gun at Hawk as he ran down a hall. Hawk lifted his own gun, which he thought was empty, and shot the boy in the back. He later told authorities that he was “buzzed” and thought the gun was empty because the spare magazine was still in his pocket.

Moran-Allen later died at St. Luke Community Hospital in Ronan.

When police questioned Hawk at the hospital, he initially tried to cover up what happened and told authorities that the boy had shot himself. Later, when the autopsy results showed that Moran-Allen had been shot in the back, police asked Hawk to explain how a young boy could shoot himself in the back. Galen then admitted that he was the one who fired the bullet that killed the boy, according to prosecutors.

The boy was shot in the back and died less than three weeks before his 4th birthday.

Hawk was charged with negligent homicide on Oct. 30 and pleaded not guilty Nov. 5. During the same arraignment, Hawk also entered a not guilty plea for a felony charge of driving under the influence on Dec. 29, 2013. According to court documents, it is the fourth time Hawk has been charged with a DUI.

Hawk is currently being held on $100,000 bail. If convicted, Hawk could face up to 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

A trial has been set for March 2, 2015.

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