Parents of slain boy sue suspect's father 11-year-old was shot in Nov.

boy, now 13, is charged with murder

September 04, 1996|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

The parents of an 11-year-old boy killed by a shotgun blast in November filed a $2 million suit in Anne Arundel Circuit Court yesterday against the father of the boy charged in the death, alleging that he never should have left his son home alone with the gun.

Peter Pastore of Baltimore and Margaret Kaplan of Miller Place, N.Y. allege that Ronald Ruppert negligently caused their son's death by leaving a 16-gauge shotgun in an unlocked closet where his son, Donald Ruppert, 12, could get it.

Nicholas Pastore, a sixth-grader at Old Mill Middle School, was killed Nov. 24, 1995, when he was shot once in the chest while playing at the Ruppert home in the 8200 block of Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Blvd., Severn.

Nicholas of the 1300 block of Ava Road in Severn died at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center about an hour after he was shot, according to police.

The Ruppert youth, who since has turned 13, was charged with first-degree murder in July by Anne Arundel County police. The trial in the criminal case is scheduled for Oct. 21.

No trial date has been set for the civil suit.

According to the suit, the youth loaded the shotgun, deliberately pointed it at the victim, cocked the hammer and pulled the trigger.

Results of tests on the shell casing showed that a 20-gauge shell had been fired from the 16-gauge shotgun.

The suit alleges that Ruppert's father was aware of safety measures for storing firearms and ammunition but "failed to appropriately store them and failed to appropriately instruct his son" regarding the danger.

The suit says that the father left his son alone in the house with the gun even though he knew the boy had an interest in the shotgun and "had free and unlimited access" to it.

"He did all of this knowing well that on previous occasions his son had taken the shotgun," the suit alleges.

Ruppert did not return phone calls yesterday.

Christopher P. Brown, the plaintiff's lawyer, said Ruppert used the gun for hunting and had taken his son hunting with it several times before the shooting.

Pub Date: 9/04/96

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