Police Beat: Orlando Police Department officer’s gun fired by a child
Today, the Orlando Police Department released a statement regarding an incident in which a 9-year-old child shot a loaded gun belonging to an Orlando Police Department officer.
The incident took place on Kensington Row Court at the home of Officer Thomas O’Day. The gun was his own personal weapon. The report reads as follows:
On March 25, 2013 at approximately 1055 hours, I, Officer A. Torres #15969 and Officer A. Faberlle #11315 responded to Kensington Row Court in reference to an accidental shooting.
Upon arrival we met with complainant who advised that his girlfriends son accidentally shot his Diamond Back .380 caliber handgun into the closet wall located inside the master bedroom.We then spoke with the witness, Crystal Ramer who stated she was getting her children ready to leave her boyfriend’s residence. Ramer asked the children to gather up their belongings so they could leave. Ramer stated she heard a loud noise upstairs that sounded like a pan dropping. Ramer immediately ran upstairs to find outwhere the noise was coming from. As Ramer was running upstairs she saw her son running down stairs. Ramer asked her son what happened and her son stated “nothing”. Ramer took her son upstairs in an attempt to find out what occurred. Ramer stated her son then told her that it was the complainant’s gun. Ramer advised she noticeda bullet hole on the wall. Ramer advised her son was inside the closet looking for an X-Box that the complainant previously told him he could have.
We then met with witness, Lydia Santiago who was inside the adjacent residence when the firearm went off.Santiago stated she was in the process of going upstairs when she heard a loud bang. Santiago stated she decided to stay down stairs for a few minutes to make sure everything was okay. Santiago stated a few minutes later she heard a knock on the door. Santiago opened the door and it was the complainant. Santiago stated the complainant asked her if they were okay and Santiago stated “yes”. The complainant then asked Santiago if he could go upstairs to make sure everything was okay. Santiago gave the complainant permission to go upstairs and check. Santiago stated the complainant advised her that his supervisor was on his way and would also need to come inside the residence to make sure everything was okay. Santiago stated that it was okay.We visually inspected the adjacent residence and determined that the projectile fired from the complainant’s gun did not penetrate the wall, therefore no damage was done to the adjacent residence.
No injuries were reported as a result of this incident. The firearm was left secured with the complainant. The supervisor, Corporal Burk #12073 responded to the scene and took photographs. The watch commander, Barbara Jones #4586 and C.I.D. Sergeant B. Donohue #11113 were notified of the incident.
The Department of Children and Families was notified of the incident, but it was determined that the child did not live in the home (according to the report, he was O’Day’s girlfriend’s child) and the incident was determined to be an accident. No charges were filed.
Sgt. Jim Young says that an investigation determined that there was no crime, though a review of the case will be completed.
Florida law indicates that anyone who owns a gun and “who knows or reasonably should know” that a minor is “likely to gain access to the firearm without the lawful permission of the minor’s parent” is required to keep their firearms in a locked box or container “or in a location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure.” Young says that the officer was not criminally charged in this case because “the adult did not know or reasonable know that the minor would likely gain access, and in this case that the firearm was in a location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure.” When asked to specify the manner in which the gun was kept (locked up or simply kept in a bedroom closet), Young referred back to the police reports and previous statements.
Here’s an excerpt of the state gun law he sent to clarify the law.
A person who stores or leaves, on a premise
under his or her control, a loaded firearm, as defined
in s. 790.001, ‘and who knows or reasonably should
know that a minor is likely to gain access to the
firearm without the lawful permission of the minor’s
parent or the person having charge of the minor, or
without the supervision required by law, shall keep
the firearm in a securely locked box or container or in
a location which a reasonable person would believe to
be secure or shall secure it with a trigger lock, except
when the person is carrying the firearm on his or her
body or within such close proximity thereto that he or
she can retrieve and use it as easily and quickly as if
he or she carried it on his or her body.
(2) It is a misdemeanor of the second degree,
punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, if
a person violates subsection (1) by failing to store or
leave a firearm in the required manner and as a result
thereof a minor gains access to the firearm, without
the lawful permission of the minor’s parent or the
person having charge of the minor, and possesses or
exhibits it, without the supervision required by law.