A four-year-old boy fatally shot himself in the stomach with his father’s gun which “was stolen in a 2011 burglary.” Both the boy and his father had been sleeping on the couch on Sunday morning when the boy woke up and picked up his father’s handgun which was lying nearby. Neighbors heard the shot and about 8:15 a.m. Houston Police Department patrol officers and an ambulance arrived at the scene, reports the Houston Chronicle on Feb. 25, 2013.
“The father, wearing just a T-shirt and boxer shorts, ran out of his second-story apartment, holding his son’s body, screaming and yelling at neighbors for help. Upon arrival, EMTs took Jaiden from his father’s arms and tried to revive the boy. He was declared dead at the scene.”
The four-year-old boy, Jaiden Pratt, had only visited his father for the weekend. The four-year-old boy’s mother would drop off Jaiden usually with his father, “21-year-old Marquiez Pratt,” in the apartment on Friday and pick him up again on Sunday afternoon.
The picture accompanying the Houston Chronicle article states that the four-year-old boy’s father was 23 years old, not 21. “Jaiden Pratt was spending the weekend with his father, 23-year-old Marquez Pratt, in the 13500 block of Northborough, just south of West Rankin, when the accident occurred, said Sgt. Brian Harris with the Houston Police Department’s homicide department.”
According to Sgt. Brian Harris, the four-year-old boy’s mother and his father had an “amiable” relationship. At about 8 a.m. on Sunday, the four-year-old boy’s mother received a call to “get over to the apartment complex” where her four-year-old son had been staying with his father.
Neighbors who had watched in horror as the four-year-old boy’s father came running outside with his son, were joined on Sunday morning by the boy’s relatives with one woman trying to cross the crime-scene tape and screaming “I’m gonna kill him! I’m gonna kill him!”
The four-year-old boy’s father, stained with his son’s blood, was sitting “on the lawn outside his apartment as he spoke with detectives before being taken into custody and driven to jail.”
When police officers searched the apartment, they found several other weapons, drugs, and drug paraphernalia. “Officers found marijuana, crack cocaine, scales and other equipment used to sell drugs in the apartment.”
The gun with which the four-year-old boy had accidentally shot himself in the stomach “was a .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol, which was stolen in a 2011 burglary.”
The four-year-old boy’s father is facing charges of “endangering a child and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.” Houston Police Department spokesman John Cannon said that “the District Attorney’s Office may eventually charge Pratt with making a firearm accessible to a minor, but under state law such a charge cannot be filed until seven days after the child is buried.”