Adults can be held accountable in unintentional child shootings

Published: Dec. 10, 2021 at 7:14 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Children are killed or hurt by unintentional shootings more often than you may think.

Tragedies like this often come at their own hands or by another child.

And they happen around the holidays, when more children are home.

But advocates say they are preventable.

We have an inside look at a recent case out of Cleveland.

19 Investigates obtained police body cam video that shows police confronting a family member after a six-year-old child shot himself in the hand.

It happened back in September.

Police officers questioned the boy’s uncle as he was treated at the hospital.

He told police the boy was injured during a drive by shooting on E. 49th Street and Fleet Ave.

“I got two small dogs, we was walking (sic) and somebody just came up shooting. Tried to run, I didn’t even know he hurt himself,” he told police.

But police didn’t buy his story.

19 Investigates found officers went to the crime scene and didn’t find anything.

So they checked this man’s house and found blood in the driveway.

Police then questioned the boy’s uncle a second time, after they spoke with the boy again and his story changed.

He said another kid found the loaded gun under the uncle’s bed and his uncle told him to lie about it.

“Is there anything else you want to tell me?” An officer asked on the body cam video.

“No,” The uncle replied.

“Do you want to change your story at all?” The officer asked.

“No,” the uncle said.

Then police arrested the uncle, who we are not naming to protect the identity of the child involved.

19 Investigates found since 2015, there were at least 29 unintentional shootings by children in Ohio, resulting in six deaths and 23 injuries.

That’s according to the #notanaccident index from the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.

Their research shows boys are the majority of unintentional shooters in these cases at 83%.

And in 91% of cases, other kids are usually the victims when kids get their hands on guns and they go off and hurt someone.

19 Investigates looked at about a dozen local accidental shooting cases involving children in 2020 and 2021 and found police made arrests in more than half of those cases.

Usually it was the adult involved, but sometimes even teens were charged.

The uncle in this case was charged with endangering children and “weapons while under disability” which means he allegedly had a weapon even though he had committed a felony in the past.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

You can keep your children and other kids safe by storing firearms unloaded, locked and separate from ammunition.

You can learn more about gun safety around children on SAFE KIDS.

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