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Boy’s father charged with endangerment after fatal shooting

Updated Tuesday, July 21, 2009 | 3:36 p.m.

Click to enlarge photo

Alex Kopystenski


UPDATED STORY: Police: Gun used in boy’s shooting was ‘out and unsecured’

The father of a 5-year-old boy who died of a gunshot wound to the head has been arrested by Metro Police.

The boy, who Metro Police said found a gun inside a car and fired it once Monday night, with a round striking him in the head, died early Tuesday morning.

Police arrested 31-year-old Alex Kopystenski of Las Vegas. He was taken to the Clark County Detention Center where he was charged with one count of child endangerment, Metro Police Officer Barbara Morgan said

Kopystenski posted a $3,000 bail and was released from detention, authorities said.

The Clark County Coroner's Office said the boy, Giovanni Kopystenski, died at University Medical Center at 1:25 a.m. Tuesday.

"The investigation is in its preliminary stages and detectives are trying to determine how the child obtained the firearm," a police statement said.

The official cause and manner of death will be determined during an autopsy.

According to police records, Kopystenski has an extensive history with local law enforcement authorities.

He was charged with possessing a dangerous weapon at a North Las Vegas school and with loitering in 2001, but the charges were dismissed for lack of evidence, court records indicated.

An assault with a deadly weapon charge in North Las Vegas in 2001 concluded with Kopystenski completing the court’s instructions.

On May 30, 2006, Kopystenski was arrested by Henderson Police and charged with one count of unlawful possession of a firearm, one count of possessing a controlled substance, three counts of possessing a dangerous drug without a prescription, one count of possession of a controlled substance for sale and one count of carrying a concealed weapon, said Todd Rasmussen, spokesman for the Henderson Police Department.

In the case of carrying a concealed weapon in 2006, Kopystenski pleaded to a misdemeanor charge and paid a $530 fine in 2007, court records said.

Metro Police records indicate that Kopystenski was last arrested in that jurisdiction on Jan. 21, 2001, for carrying a concealed weapon. He was also arrested and charged on July 19, 1997, for coercion and assault with a deadly weapon, said Metro Police spokesman Officer Jay Rivera.

An assault with a deadly weapon charge in 1997 was dismissed for lack of evidence.

The boy, his father and a friend, who was not arrested, were going through a drive-in window at the Walgreens on Durango Drive and Warm Springs Road shortly after 8 p.m. Monday when the boy found a gun inside the car, police said.

After the shooting, the father rushed the boy to Spring Valley Hospital with a gunshot wound to the head, police said. The child was transferred to University Medical Center's trauma unit in critical condition, police said.

Homicide detectives detained the father and the friend at Spring Valley Hospital and learned that the two adults and the child left home to go to Walgreens, where the shooting occurred, police said.

Police are continuing to investigate this shooting.

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