Monday, January 22, 2018
Public safety

3-year-old boy fatally shoots self with uncle's gun

TAMPA — A 3-year-old boy who found a gun in a backpack and shot himself died Tuesday night, authorities said, a local addition to this month's spate of child shootings nationwide.

The boy, identified by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office as Jadarrius Speights, was with his mother, father and uncle in Apartment 109 of the Avesta apartments at 13144 N 22nd St., just west of the University of South Florida.

The uncle, Jeffrey D. Walker, 29, had bought the 9mm gun at a gun shop and had left it in a backpack in a bedroom he shared with the boy, said sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter.

Carter said investigators believe the child found the gun and accidentally shot himself.

Walker was arrested late Tuesday and faces a culpable negligence charge, the Sheriff's Office said. He holds a concealed weapons permit, authorities said.

The boy's parents, Jasmine Bell, 21, and Trentin Speights, 22, were in their bedroom at the time of the shooting.

A 911 call about the shooting came in at 7:10 p.m., Carter said. The boy was transported to Florida Hospital Tampa, where he later died.

Tuesday's shooting came days after accidental shootings of children in South Florida, Alabama and Kentucky.

• On Saturday night, a 13-year-old boy accidentally shot his 6-year-old sister in Oakland Park, just north of Fort Lauderdale. The girl, Angela Divin, was hospitalized in critical condition. The brother, whose name was not released, accidently pulled the trigger of a handgun he found while the two were alone at their Oakland Park home around 7 p.m., authorities said.

• On Friday, a 4-year-old boy in Brighton, Ala., was hospitalized in critical condition after being shot. The boy and a 4-year-old girl were in a bedroom when one of them got hold of a gun, authorities said. Police were not sure which child had the gun, and the incident was under investigation.

• On April 30, 2-year-old Caroline Sparks died after her 5-year-old brother accidentally shot her with his gun, authorities said — a weapon marketed for children as "My First Rifle."

Like the Alabama and South Florida shootings, the shooting in rural Burkesville, Ky., has not resulted in any criminal charges.

Information from the Miami Herald, the New York Times and the Associated Press was used in this report.

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