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Prosecutor decides against charging father in son's death

By Joe Beck

An investigation into the shooting death of 17-year-old Rhett Goldizen in his home last fall has found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by his father, Frederick County authorities said Wednesday.

Commonwealth's Attorney Ross Spicer said he has decided not to file any charges against Steve Goldizen, Rhett Goldizen's father, barring an unexpected turn in the ongoing investigation.

Authorities said they are continuing to seek two male suspects, one of whom is believed to have fired a shotgun into the Goldizen home in the 200 block of Monastery Ridge Road during an armed confrontation just after midnight on Oct. 18.

Spicer said a single shot fired from Steve Goldizen's handgun that killed Rhett Goldizen appears to have been an accidental discharge.

In a news release, Spicer said Goldizen, "who had armed himself with a firearm prior to answering the door, ordered the individuals off of his property and retreated into his residence. When he did so, he was surprised by the appearance of his son, who emerged around a corner from the dining room into the front foyer."

Goldizen then accidentally fired a shot that struck Rhett Goldizen in the chest, Spicer said.

Spicer said in an interview that investigators determined the fatal shot came from Steve Goldizen's handgun, based on statements he made to them.

"Mr. Goldizen himself on a 911 call indicated he had shot and killed his son and then described that in further detail with investigators," Spicer said.

"Everybody recognized that this was just a horrible tragedy, and sometimes horrible tragedies with consequences as tragic as they are don't justify the bringing of criminal charges," he added.

Frederick County Capt. Allen Sibert said, contrary to initial reports on the armed confrontation, there was no exchange of gunfire between Goldizen and the two suspects.

"Steve did get fired on, but he never fired on the other people," Sibert said. "He fired his round while he was retreating into the residence."

Sibert declined to comment on how many rounds were fired during the incident. He said authorities remain intent on finding the suspects. Authorities have yet to determine their motives.

"The two individuals precipitated this incident," Sibert said. "They are the ones who came there armed in the middle of the night, and we are not neglecting that fact."

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com


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