Family could be charged in 3-year-old's death

Monday, October 13th 2008, 8:16 am
By: News 9

By Gan Matthews, NEWS 9

MIDWEST CITY, Okla. -- A 3-year-old boy died Monday morning after the child was playing with a gun and it went off, Midwest City police said. The boy has been identified as Ethan Tucker.

Police said a 911 phone call came in around 3:30 a.m. indicating a boy had been shot in the head. Tucker was transported to Southwest Regional Hospital where he later died.

The shooting took place at 805 Hunter's Run near Reno and Post roads. According to authorities, the shooting was accidental, but the child's grandmother, aunt and uncle were in the house at the time.

The family members were able to help police piece together what happened.

"What we know is that Ethan was apparently placed in the uncle's bedroom. The uncle thought the child had gone to sleep, but in the meantime the uncle had gone to the living room to watch television when he heard a loud bang. When he went back into the bedroom, he found the child had suffered the fatal gunshot wound," Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes said.

Police said there were multiple loaded weapons within reach of the child in the bedroom. Authorities said this tragedy is a sad reminder to keep weapons locked up.

Police are investigating the incident. They will submit the investigation's results and their recommendations to the district attorney's office for possible prosecution.

NEWS 9 legal analyst Irven Box said the District Attorney could bring charges against the adults in the house under a couple of laws.

"One is a child abuse statute. It covers a gamut of things; if you fail to provide a certain type of safety for a child, which this would include. There's also a misdemeanor. That's reckless conduct with a firearm, where you put a weapon in a position that could be harmful to someone else," Box said.

Police Chief Clabes said he can't remember the last time a child was killed in his city in an accidental shooting.

Memorial funds are being established at Arvest Bank in Midwest City and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Midwest City.