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Man charged in accidental shooting of child in Pinellas

LARGO — A 22-year-old man was arrested late Thursday in one of two accidental shootings in Pinellas County involving children in the care of adults.

Justin Gallagher faces two charges in the accidental shooting of a 20-month-old girl — aggravated child abuse and being a felon in possession of a weapon.

No one was charged in a separate incident Thursday in which a 6-year-old boy shot his 8-year-old brother in the leg.

Gallagher thought he had unloaded his shotgun Thursday morning before pointing it at the child in a home at 59th Street N and 141st Terrace N in the Leisure World mobile home park, deputies said. He didn't realized when he pulled the trigger that he had left a round in the gun, deputies said.

A neighbor who talked to the family said the blast injured the toddler's ear.

The child's mother and grandmother took her to All Children's Hospital. The child is expected to survive. Gallagher called authorities after relatives urged him to and after he heard his name in the news, deputies said.

In Clearwater, deputies said, a 6-year-old boy accidentally shot his 8-year-old brother while under a 30-year-old man's care. The 6-year-old's twin was also present in Thursday night's shooting at 2171 Timber Lane.

Zachary White pulled a .38-caliber revolver and a .45-caliber semiautomatic gun from a safe to show the children, deputies said.

White unloaded the revolver and then handed it to the boys. He took it back, reloaded the gun and put it in a holster on top of a dresser. As White showed off the unloaded semiautomatic gun, one of the 6-year-old twins grabbed the gun on the dresser. The boy raised it, pulled the trigger and shot his 8-year-old brother in the leg.

The injured boy was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa and is expected to survive.

Deputies said it appears to be an accident, and no one was charged.

Man charged in accidental shooting of child in Pinellas 10/29/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 29, 2010 3:51pm]
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