A 4-year-old Louisiana boy died after he accidentally shot himself in the head while his mother and a friend got high in the front seat, authorities said.
Jarion Walker and his younger siblings were seated in the back of their mom’s car on Saturday, Jan. 29, when the 4-year-old fatally shot himself with a gun he found in the vehicle, according to Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputies.
Authorities were called to the scene around 10:45 p.m. to find a child with what initially appeared to be a gunshot wound to the back of the head, Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said. However, autopsy results showed he actually suffered a “contact wound to the front of the head,” leading investigators to believe the injury was self-inflicted.
Jarion was taken to a hospital for treatment but died, authorities said.
“These types of deaths can certainly be prevented,” Lopinto told reporters at a news conference on Monday, Jan. 31. “Gun safety is something that is apparent. We shouldn’t ever leave a gun inside of our vehicle for numerous different reasons, this one being the most tragic reason.”
At least two other kids — a 1-year-old and a 22-month-old — were in the car when the shooting occurred, according to the sheriff. Police initially thought one them may have fired the fatal shot, but ballistic evidence “made it more probable than not” that Jarion had accidentally shot himself.
Their mother and another adult were smoking marijuana in the front seat, police said, and didn’t realize one of the kids had a gun. So far, neither has been charged in the incident, Lopinto said.
“We can always put blame on people but … I don’t think it’s appropriate to make an arrest on this at this point,” he said. “They’ve just lost a child, that certainly wasn’t intentional by any means.”
The deadly shooting occurred one day before a similar incident in which a 9-year-old shot a 7-year-old as they waited in the car for their mom outside a Chipotle restaurant in Georgia, McClatchy News reported. That child is expected to be OK.
Jefferson Parish authorities said the case will be turned over to the district attorney’s office once detectives are done investigating.