DA's office says it won't pursue charges after a 22-year-old woman was shot by a 2-year-old


FARMINGTON — The San Juan County District Attorney's Office has declined to file charges in the fatal shooting of a 22-year-old woman last month at a Crouch Mesa home.

Melissa Westbrook was shot at a home at No. 1 County Road 3959, near the intersection of County Road 3959 and Wildflower Parkway, on the afternoon of Dec. 12.

Deputies for the San Juan County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to the home at about 3 p.m.

San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Brent Capshaw said there was insufficient evidence that a crime had occurred.

Capshaw said Westbrook was shot in the face by a 2-year-old boy in a bedroom of the home. The child found the gun, which was owned by Westbrook, on a bed in the bedroom.

The weapon was discharged as a man in the house attempted to retrieve the gun from the boy, Capshaw said.

Westbrook was initially transported to San Juan Regional Medical Center and was then transferred to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque.

She was pronounced dead the morning of Dec.15 at the UNM Hospital.

Capshaw said the DA's office sent a letter to the Sheriff's Office on Jan. 9 stating it would not pursue charges for negligent use of a deadly weapon.

Westbrook's uncle, James Lee, said in a telephone interview today that he wanted to thank law enforcement for their work investigating the incident.

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