US

St. Louis Boy, 3, Dies After Accidentally Shooting Himself With Gun Found in Bedroom

By Lorenz Duchamps

A young child in Missouri has died after allegedly shooting himself with a gun.

Police said a 3-year-old boy was home with his parents when he found an unsecured firearm in the bedroom and accidentally shot himself in the head.

The St. Louis County Police Department received a call around 11:35 am. Thursday, Sept. 12, reporting the accident, which took place on the 9500 block of Jacobi Avenue. “Almost immediately after,” officers said, they were flagged down by a woman “driving erratically.” When they pulled her over, they discovered a child in her car with a gunshot wound, according to a press release by the department.

After assessing the child, who was not named in the report, he was put in the patrol vehicle and taken to a local hospital. One officer drove while another administered “life-saving treatment” to the child in the backseat, according to the release.

There, the child had to be airlifted to another hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said.

“It is tragic any time we lose somebody in any manner. Certainly more tragic when we lose somebody to gunfire and it is certainly beyond the pale and heartbreaking when we lose a child anywhere in the communities we live in,” Police Chief Jon Belmar told KMOV.

He added, “[it is] heartbreaking for the family and also heartbreaking for the police officers who are involved in this.”

The station later identified the child as Rodney March III. His father, 28-year-old Rodney March II, was charged on Friday in connection with his son’s death.

Police said March left the loaded gun, a .40 caliber Glock, near his 3-year-old son, who was then able to accidentally shoot himself with it.

March was charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree. He is in custody on a $100,000 cash-only bond.

So far in 2019, St. Louis has had 11 homicides involving children age 16 or younger, with several of them as young as three years old, according to a report by local station KMOV.

Accidental Shooting Deaths Halved

Accidental firearm discharges killed 486 people in 2017, down more than 50 percent since 1997, according to mortality data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Meanwhile, gun sales increased more than 80 percent between 1999 and 2017, according to The DataFace, a San Francisco data analysis company, which based its estimates on FBI background check data.

There appears to be a mix of factors behind the phenomenon.

The Associated Press and Epoch Times reporter Jack Phillips contributed to this report.