Parents of toddler who shot baby could avoid jail, lawyer says

Parents of toddler who shot baby could avoid jail, lawyer says »Play Video
MIDDLETON, Idaho (KBOI) - Deputies in Canyon County say a toddler accidentally shot an infant in the face with a loaded handgun Monday afternoon.

Deputies were called to the 25000 block of Middleton Road for a report of an accidental shooting.

Investigators say the 10-month-old and 3-year-old were in a vehicle at the family's home and were temporarily left unattended. Police say the toddler found a loaded handgun in the vehicle and unintentionally fired the weapon.

The single round hit the 10-month-old in the cheek. The infant's mother, deputies say, heard the shot, rushed to the car and called 911.

"This was a terrifying event that could have been even more tragic - a 10-month-old or 3-year-old could have lost their lives yesterday," said Canyon County sheriff Kieran Donahue. "Unintentional shootings like this one are preventable. "It is critical that gun owners be responsible with the storage of their weapons and lock firearms in a safe place away from children."

The infant is now back home with the parents after being taken to St. Luke's in Boise, but the troubles may not be over for mom and dad.

Boise lawyer David Leroy thinks it is unlikely criminal charges will be filed against the parents.

"An injury to a child type of crime requires willful conduct by the parent, even willful as to placing the child in a situation where injury is likely to be received," says Leroy.

Leroy doesn't think the parents will be going to jail, but under the Child Protection Act a parent can fail to take proper care of their child and if that's the case here, they could lose their kids.

"Obviously here, where a gun was present and children were present there was some neglect or omission by the parents. That can be the basis for a civil proceeding by the Department of Health and Welfare," says Leroy.

People in the Treasure Valley are torn on what should happen to them.

"Classes, parenting classes, I don't know, gun classes. I don't know. Maybe they get their gun rights taken away," says Sherilyn Ames, a Boise resident.

"I don't know that they should press charges because I don't know all the facts, but I definitely think it should be investigated to see if there was some negligence there," says Glenn Rummler, a Boise resident.

"If it was in a locked compartment where the kid couldn't get to it without having to really try, I mean that's just a back situation, I wouldn't blame the parents, but if it was just sitting out in the car, like, where the kid could get to it easily, then that's all on the parent, that's their bad," says Brandon Robertson, a Nampa resident.

The Canyon County Prosecutor is waiting on final police reports before deciding whether or not to file charges.