Great-uncle charged after 3-year-old finds loaded gun in kitchen drawer, shoots himself in Florida

A negligent gun owner was arrested in Florida over the weekend after his 3-year-old great-nephew found a loaded firearm inside a kitchen drawer and shot himself, authorities said.



a man wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: James Romano


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James Romano

The boy, who’s expected to survive, apparently climbed onto the counter, opened an unlocked drawer and pulled the trigger, shooting himself in the hand and thigh, police said in an arrest report obtained by local news outlets.

His great-uncle, 61-year-old James Romano, admitted to smoking two marijuana cigarettes before the child was dropped off at the home Sunday in Juniper Inlet Colony, according to The Palm Beach Post. He also told police that he forgot he had left the 9-mm. semi-automatic handgun in the kitchen drawer that day.

The West Virginia resident was charged with culpable negligence and unsafe storage of a firearm. He was arrested Sunday night and released Monday after posting $1,000 bond, jail records show.

The boy was at least the second U.S. child to shoot himself with an unsecured firearm in recent days.

A toddler in North Carolina died from a “self-inflicted gunshot wound” last week during an incident that is still under investigation. The 2-year-old was home with two adults and a teenager when the shooting happened.

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Uncle arrested after 3-year-old shot himself with gun left in kitchen drawer

Jupiter Inlet Colony Police arrested James Romano Sunday afternoon after they said he confessed to leaving his loaded 9 mm pistol in a kitchen drawer, where his 3-year-old great-nephew found it and shot himself.Police responded to a home in the 100 block of Lighthouse Drive around 3:30 p.m. Sunday.Police said the bullet struck the child’s hand and entered and exited his thigh. He was rushed to the hospital where he was said to be stable, with non-life threatening injuries.”Thank the Lord he’s going to be OK – he’s in stable condition, it didn’t hit any major arteries so that was the great news,” said police Chief John Pruitt.According to the police report, Romano’s sister was babysitting her grandson that afternoon when he climbed on the kitchen counter and opened the drawer.Police said Romano told them he had put the gun there the day before and forgotten about it. He also allegedly told police he had smoked marijuana hours before the boy came over.”This is a prime example we preach about it all the time — about securing firearms, keeping them in a safe or storing the firearm and the ammunition separately unloaded, or tragedies can happen, fortunately this was not a tragedy,” said Pruitt.Pruitt said Romano, who lists an address in West Virginia and was visiting his sister to help her move, was remorseful and cooperative. He faces charges of culpable negligence and unsafe storage of a firearm.

Jupiter Inlet Colony Police arrested James Romano Sunday afternoon after they said he confessed to leaving his loaded 9 mm pistol in a kitchen drawer, where his 3-year-old great-nephew found it and shot himself.

Police responded to a home in the 100 block of Lighthouse Drive around 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

Police said the bullet struck the child’s hand and entered and exited his thigh. He was rushed to the hospital where he was said to be stable, with non-life threatening injuries.

“Thank the Lord he’s going to be OK – he’s in stable condition, it didn’t hit any major arteries so that was the great news,” said police Chief John Pruitt.

According to the police report, Romano’s sister was babysitting her grandson that afternoon when he climbed on the kitchen counter and opened the drawer.

Police said Romano told them he had put the gun there the day before and forgotten about it. He also allegedly told police he had smoked marijuana hours before the boy came over.

“This is a prime example we preach about it all the time — about securing firearms, keeping them in a safe or storing the firearm and the ammunition separately unloaded, or tragedies can happen, fortunately this was not a tragedy,” said Pruitt.

Pruitt said Romano, who lists an address in West Virginia and was visiting his sister to help her move, was remorseful and cooperative. He faces charges of culpable negligence and unsafe storage of a firearm.

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NYC kidnapping: NYPD search for man, 3-year-old after abduction at McCaffrey playground in Hell’s Kitchen

HELL’S KITCHEN, Manhattan (WABC) — Police are searching for the man they believe kidnapped a 3-year-old boy.

The NYPD believe the suspect Dale Smith got into a verbal argument with his ex-girlfriend at the McCaffrey Playground located at 9th Avenue and West 43rd Street in Hell’s Kitchen on Thursday.

He ended up leaving with her 3-year-old son Majesty Brown without her permission.

The kidnapped child is described as Black, 3’5″ tall, 45 pounds, with a medium complexion, brown eye and black hair braided in corn rows. He was last seen wearing a gray t-shirt with orange lettering, black jeans, yellow sneakers with “700” written on the sides.

Smith is described as a 20-year-old Black male, 5’8″ tall, with a light complexion, brown eyes, and black hair in braids. He has a tattoo that says “DALE” on his left arm and a tattoo that says “LOYALTY” on his right arm. Smith was last seen wearing a black baseball hat, white shirt, gray jeans and gray sneakers.

Smith is not the child’s biological father.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM, or on Twitter @ NYPDTips.

ALSO READ: NY to begin sending extra $300 per week in unemployment benefits to 2 million-plus New Yorkers

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