Fayette County man faces 10 years in federal prison for gun charge, which led to death of 4-year-old

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CEDAR RAPIDS — An Elgin man was convicted last week in federal court for illegally possessing a gun while being a drug user, which resulted in a 4-year-old boy finding that weapon and fatally shooting himself last year.

Daniel Henriksen, 29, pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court to one count of possessing a firearm while being an unlawful user of controlled substances — marijuana.

He faces up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release following any prison time, the plea agreement shows.

Court documents show Fayette County Sheriff’s deputies and emergency responders came to Henriksen’s home in Elgin after receiving a 911 call June 17. Once at the residence, they found the child with a gunshot wound to his head.

The child — identified at the time as Jayden Choate of Fort Atkinson — was taken to Palmer Lutheran Hospital in West Union, where he later died, according to court documents.

Jayden found the gun in Henriksen’s mobile home, where the child was taking a nap, the search warrant affidavit shows. The firearm was a Glock 36, a .45-caliber handgun.

Deputies said the boy, his mother, his 3-year-old brother and 4-month-old sister were visiting the residence. The boy’s mother and another person were sitting on the deck while the children were inside the trailer.

Henriksen admitted in the plea agreement to owning the gun and also admitted to being a drug user and had smoked marijuana in his home the night before the shooting.

During the search of Henriksen’s mobile home, officers seized several items of drug paraphernalia, including marijuana pipes, according to the affidavit.

The plea agreement shows if the court determines that Henriksen has three previous convictions of a violent felony offense and/or drug offense, he could face a mandatory minimum of 15 years on this conviction.   

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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