LAKELAND – Two men were arrested Friday after a three-year-old shot his two-year-old sister in the chest under her surveillance, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a news conference on Saturday.
The weapon used in the shooting belonged to 23-year-old Kevonte ‘Wilson, Judd said. He is accused of possessing marijuana, carrying a hidden firearm, and not keeping it safe. Another man present, Rodderick Haynes, also 23, is charged with four pending arrest warrants unrelated to the shooting.
Judd said the men were watching an NBA playoff game with a third friend around midnight when they heard a shot. Then they saw the two-year-old injured on a couch. The men told MPs that they saw their brother run “screaming and crying” into his bedroom.
The men “rested” the girl to a nearby hospital, Judd said. But they were in a car accident on the way.
The crash caused “significant injuries,” Judd said, and Lakeland Fire and Rescue responded to the scene.
A good Samaritan at the scene of the accident volunteered to take the 2-year-old girl and one of the men to the hospital themselves before the rescuers arrived, Judd said.
According to Judd, surgeons at the hospital found that the girl had suffered severe internal organs damage in the shootings. She has already undergone “life-saving surgery” and is now being transferred to an intensive care hospital. She remained in critical condition on Saturday night.
Judd said the 3-year-old managed to get his hands on the gun after Wilson stuffed it between the sofa cushions to “keep it out of the reach of children.”
“I don’t know what you think of the safe way to keep a gun out of the reach of children by sticking it in the couch that children are playing on,” Judd said.
The men worked with the investigation, Judd said. He did not say which of the three men present was the girl’s father – but hinted that one of the three was.
According to Judd, the child’s mother was absent at the time of the shooting.
“There is absolutely no reason to believe that this was an intentional act,” said Judd. “But we will make adults appropriately and criminally liable for their behavior.”