Grandfather charged after 7-year-old finds gun, fatally shoots self
BERKELEY, Mo. (KMOV/Gray News) - A Missouri man is facing charges on accusations he left a gun in his truck that his 7-year-old grandson shot and killed himself with.
Walter Macon, of Kinloch, is charged with first-degree endangering the welfare of a child - death of a child and armed criminal action, KMOV reports.
According to authorities, the shooting took place around 10:30 a.m. Monday outside an apartment complex in Berkeley. Police say Macon, 45, was loading recording studio equipment into his truck while his 7-year-old grandson was in the back seat. He told the boy to climb into the front seat then left him in the truck for around five minutes.
Police say a loaded .40 caliber Smith and Wesson belonging to Macon was between the driver’s seat and the center console. When Macon returned to the truck, he found his grandson shot in the head, police say.
Macon reportedly told officers he knew the gun was in the truck when he allowed his grandson inside.
It was St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell’s office that decided to charge Macon. Bell said prosecutors in his office have to decide whether a child died because of a tragic accident or if there was carelessness and recklessness involved.
“We have to look at these cases on a case-by-case basis on whether we think the action or inaction rose to the level of a crime,” Bell said.
Shootings that wound or kill children are becoming too common in the region, Bell said. He said legislation at all levels of government can slow some of these incidents but acknowledges Jefferson City Republican lawmakers will get in the way.
“Obviously, I’m a supporter that local government should be able to have more say so,” Bell said.
Bell pointed to St. Louis City’s new gun legislation and proposals in the county council. Others say gun owners need to be more responsible.
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