Saturday, February 17, 2018
Public safety

Deputies: 4-year-old shot aunt with uncle's gun, warrant issued

TAMPA — Authorities have issued an arrest warrant for a man they say left his 4-year-old nephew alone with a gun, then fled after the boy shot his aunt in the back.

Randall Simmons, 22, showed the weapon, a .25 caliber semiautomatic handgun, to the child Monday while sitting in a van parked outside a business at 9017 E Adamo Drive, sheriff's deputies said. Simmons then got out of the van to go inside a nearby cell phone store. While he was gone, the 4-year-old began to play with the gun, deputies said.

A shot was fired, piercing the front passenger seat and hitting the boy's aunt, Shantell Wilson, in the middle of her back, authorities said.

Seeing a commotion inside the van, Simmons returned with his cousin, Antonio Wilson. When they saw what had happened, the men removed the 4-year-old and two other children, ages 8 and 10, and fled the area, deputies said.

Shantell Wilson, 30, was taken to Tampa General Hospital and released the following day, authorities said. During an investigation of the incident, she and the children's grandmother, Deborah Rivers, 48, were uncooperative with deputies, officials said. Detectives were eventually able to piece together what happened with the investigation culminating in the warrant for Simmons' arrest.

The exact charges he faces are unclear. An investigation is still ongoing, authorities said.

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