BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A teenager’s fatal shooting of a troubled Army veteran father who threatened his family then tossed the child a loaded gun was legally justified, a Vermont prosecutor said Wednesday.
No charges will be filed against the child of Kryn Miner, 44, a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, who was shot and killed inside the family’s Essex Junction home last month.
Miner had threatened to kill his four children, physically assaulted his wife and threw a loaded handgun to the teen who came to her aid.
“Do you want to play the gun game?” Miner — who served in the 82nd Airborne Division and was sniper qualified — asked the teen, according to authorities. The teen said no, but fired six shots when Miner pulled another gun from a bag. Miner was hit five times.
“The teenager reasonably believed the siblings and mother were all in imminent danger of being killed or suffering great bodily harm,” Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan said. Miner was armed, pointed the gun at his wife and child and “acting with an extreme indifference to the value of human life,” he said.
Miner had served tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and Panama. He had been public about his struggle with PTSD, appearing on a Chicago TV station to talk about the Lone Survivor Foundation, which helps wounded veterans return to civilian life and offers retreats to service members diagnosed with combat-related PTSD.
Hours before he was killed, Miner, a fitness trainer who also worked as a military contractor, had begun acting erratically after attending a wedding with his wife and two of their children, Donovan said. He became verbally then physically abusive toward his wife, who in the past had been able to calm him, Donovan said.
It was his wife’s scream that prompted the teen to go to the parents’ bedroom, where the final altercation happened.
Miner had three daughters and a son, ages 7 to 18. Authorities are not releasing the name or age of the child who fired the fatal shots.
“We want to protect the privacy of the young person and what we don’t want to do is have this young person have to publicly answer for this act for the rest of their lives,” Donovan said.
The Associated Press is not publishing the names of the children.
Miner had pointed a gun at his wife and children and threatened to shoot them in another incident more than a year ago, but it was never reported to law enforcement, Donovan said.
Miner served more than 25 years in the armed forces, including multiple tours. In 2010, he served in Afghanistan with the Vermont National Guard. He retired recently due to health issues, his family said, but never forgot about his fellow comrades.
“Kryn was a wonderful and loving husband, as well as a fantastic and dedicated father to his four children,” his family said in a statement, also thanking the local community and police.
He had been dealing with severe mental health issues that were the result of his long and dedicated service in the military, said the family, who had moved from New York to Vermont last year.
“Although Kryn had been under the care of professionals for these injuries, the fight did not end when he left the war. In a way it was just beginning,” the family said.
An online fundraising campaign for the family had more than doubled its $10,000 goal as of Wednesday.