Police say pair fled after 3-year-old shot
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Jun 13, 2014, 11:45
BLAKE BELDEN/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Police officers gather at the Thomas Rolfe Court public housing complex in Hopewell where a 3-year-old boy was shot Monday morning.
HOPEWELL — The mother of 3-year-old twin boys has fled Hopewell leaving her children behind, police said. Reashonda Sharelle Jones, 28, is wanted on numerous charges, along with her live-in boyfriend Lewis Walter Jones, 29, and the whereabouts of both are unknown at this time.
On Monday at 10:19 a.m., Hopewell Police were called to the 100 block of S. Eighth Ave, the Thomas Rolfe Court public housing community, for reports of a child shot in the buttocks at the playground. Shortly after police responded to the scene, the real story about the shooting started to come together.
The gun was fired by the twin brother, a small-caliber gun that was left unattended inside the residence. Hopewell Police Chief John Keohane said the shooting was accidental and a search of the apartment and the mother’s car turned up drugs and a handgun.
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, police said. The car, which was searched by authorities, was the same car Lewis Jones used to flee the scene and belongs to Reashonda Jones.
Authorities said the mother of the child was en route to the hospital with the injured toddler 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.
Keohane said from the last update he received, the child is in stable condition and he is “steadily improving.”
Reashonda Jones has been charged with two counts of felony child neglect, filing a false police report, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Lewis Jones has been charged with two counts of felony child neglect, obstruction of justice and evidence tampering. Keohane said additional charges are currently pending against both.
Keohane said a search of the residence turned up marijuana and methamphetamines. He said both are facing charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of methamphetamines. For Keohane, the most heartbreaking piece of this incident is the abandonment of the two toddlers.
“It’s heartbreaking as a parent to see that children were in this type of environment,” Keohane said. “There were unsecured weapons and drugs in the residence.”
He also added that is just as heartbreaking that the mother, along with her live-in boyfriend, have fled the city while one of the children was still in the hospital.
“As a father and as a mother, how are you not beside your child when they’re having emergency surgery?” Keohane said. “It’s almost like abandonment of your child at the hospital.”
Though Keohane was not able to provide details as to the further care of the children due to privacy and safety issues, he did confirm individuals have stepped in to help care for the twin boys.
Keohane said the department is currently following leads to locate both the mother and the boyfriend, who police believe are together. They have not been able to determine a location at this time.
He added that both the mother and the boyfriend should turn themselves in as soon as possible.
“It’s a very sad state of affairs,” Keohane said. “... They are just making it harder for them.”
Keohane thanked members of the Thomas Rolfe community for helping authorities unravel the truth behind the shooting to determine that it did not occur on the playground but inside the apartment.
Keohane also 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.
• Staff writer Blake Belden contributed to this report.