JOHNSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — “We’re all victims, unfortunately.”
That’s how Mario Kirios replied when asked if there was anything he wanted to say to 16-year-old Dillon Viens’ family while leaving court Friday.
Viens was shot and killed while hanging out with friends in the 30-year-old’s Cedar Street home last year. Kirios wasn’t home at the time, but was arrested and charged with improperly storing a firearm.
The shooting was originally deemed accidental, but investigators made an about-face last week after determining Viens’ death was a homicide.
Officers arrested a 16-year-old boy and charged him with manslaughter, using a firearm while committing a crime of violence, possession of ammunition by a minor, and two counts of possession of a firearm by a minor.
Kirios, who legally owned the weapon used to kill Viens, was arrested for the second time and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He pleaded not guilty in court Friday and was released on personal recognizance.
When asked whether he felt sorry for what had happened, Kirios said, “absolutely.”
“We’re all hurting,” Kirios said.
Court documents obtained by 12 News reveal that officers rushed to Kirios’ home that night for reports of a shooting. When the officers arrived, two teenage boys met them outside and exclaimed, “He’s in the house and he shot himself.”
The officers entered the house and found Viens lying on the bedroom floor with a gunshot wound to his head, according to court documents. Viens was pronounced dead at the scene.
Detectives also found five unsecured firearms inside Kirios’ home, including the one used to shoot Viens.
“This tragedy underscores the importance for owners of firearms to properly secure them to prevent shooting deaths such as these involving juveniles,” Johnston Police Chief Mark Vieira said.
Rhonda Brewster, Viens’ mother, recently testified in favor of legislation that would stiffen penalties for gun owners who don’t properly secure their weapons.
“By having those weapons available and accessible to a teenager who was careless … parading the guns around and showing them off to his friends … it ended in the taking of a life,” Brewster said through tears.
Brewster said the law would “make sure people are held accountable for securing their firearms.”
Kirios’ next court date is scheduled for May 12.