Last Updated: Jun 17th, 2014 - 13:20:20


3-year-old shot by twin with unattended gun, police say
By BLAKE BELDEN
Jun 9, 2014, 13:58

Police officers gather at the Thomas Rolfe Court public housing complex in Hopewell where a 3-year-old boy was shot Monday morning . (BLAKE BELDEN/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT)
HOPEWELL A 3 year-old-boy was shot by his twin brother this morning inside a residence in the Thomas Rolfe Court public housing community.

The toddler, who was struck in the buttocks by a bullet that had been discharged from an unattended, small-caliber weapon, is being treated at the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center and is believed to be in stable condition, authorities said.

The toddler who is believed to have fired the unattended weapon was taken to another location on Fourth Avenue by the mother's boyfriend before police arrived on scene, and authorities are unsure at this time of any injuries the boy might have, according to Police Chief John Keohane, who spoke during a press conference early Monday afternoon.

Police responded to an initial call at 10:19 a.m. from a residence on the 200 block of South Eighth Avenue, at which point the caller said three shots were fired and the boy was struck while at the community's playground just behind the residence, according to police.

Keohane confirmed that the shooting actually took place inside of the residence.

Authorities said the mother of the child was en route to the hospital with the toddler who was shot when police arrived at the residence, and that police escorted her to John Randolph Medical Center because she would not wait for an ambulance.

The boy was then transported from JRMC to the VCU Medical Center.
As of early Monday afternoon, the whereabouts of the weapon were unknown and it is unclear who owned the firearm, Keohane said.

A search warrant for the residence and for a vehicle were pending, Keohane said around 1 p.m.

At the press conference, Keohane stated that the boyfriend was currently being questioned by authorities.

The investigation is ongoing and the mother and her boyfriend could potentially face charges in regard to this incident.

Keohane stressed the dangers of leaving weapons unattended, and urged all weapon owners to exercise every safety precaution to keep incidents like this from happening.

"You have to separate the ammunition from the weapon. There are security devices so you can lock your slides open. ... But never, ever, ever leave your weapon unattended especially when it's loaded," Keohane said.

Shenita Williams, of Hopewell, said that she hopes this shooting will be an eye-opening incident for those who maintain and manage the areas of the Hopewell Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

Williams, who used to live in Thomas Rolfe Court for 10 years, said that her children had seen shootings in the area while they lived there, and that it seems like the area is getting worse.

"It's the children that are suffering from it even though the parents are the ones who live here," Williams said on Monday morning.

Shirley Taylor, who lives across the street from where the shooting occurred, called the incident "shocking," and something that should never have happened.

"I wouldn't have ever imagined that," Taylor said of a 3-year-old toddler getting shot in her community.

Senior staff writer Caitlin Davis contributed to this report.

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