A Longview man entered a guilty plea Tuesday and was sentenced to a suspended jail sentence in connection to the August shooting death of his 10-year-old son in what was called “a tragic accident.”

David Russell Stice, 60, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor making a firearm accessible to a child causing death or serious bodily injury. He was sentenced to a 1-year suspended — or probated — jail sentence, a $400 fine, 40 hours of community service, firearms safety training and a continued treatment plan per Child Protective Services.

“I can’t imagine your loss, Mr. Stice,” Gregg County Court at Law No. 1 Judge Kent Phillips said after Stice’s plea.

The Gregg County District Attorney’s Office referred to the incident as “a tragic accident” and recommended the probated sentence.

Police responded at about 2:14 p.m. on Aug. 9 to a reported shooting in the 200 block of Whatley Road in Longview.

According to court documents, officers found a child who had been shot in the face. Stice’s son was taken to Christus Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview before being flown to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas.

Court documents say the child died on the way to Dallas.

In an interview with police, Stice said he left a loaded firearm inside his vehicle and said he was sleeping in his bedroom when the child found the gun.

According to information at Tuesday’s hearing, the child crawled through a window in the back of Stice’s locked pickup, and the firearm had not been left in plain view.

Child Protective Services investigated, and Stice’s surviving son was temporarily removed from the home, but he and his other child have since been reunited.

“I have no doubt that you’re going to do well on this probation,” Phillips said. “I’m not sure that whatever we do here today is going to make a difference in anything. It certainly can’t ease your pain.”

Stice became emotional during sentencing, wiping away tears.

“In time, hopefully it can give you some peace, and your other child that you take care of will keep you focused and on track,” Phillips said. “I wish you well.”

Recommended for You


Courtney Stern is a public safety reporter covering a wide range of topics. She grew up in Baltimore and later earned a journalism degree from the University of Miami. Stern moved to East Texas from Iowa with her husband and two dogs, Pebbles and Bam Bam.