ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - A 61-year-old man is facing charges after an 8-year-old shot himself in the foot Monday afternoon, according to the Albany Police Department (APD).
APD said Don L. Dawson, the child’s stepfather, is facing a charge for reckless conduct.
The 8-year-old was sitting in a vehicle in the 200 block of Cone Street when Dawson stepped out of the vehicle when the child found the gun and shot himself, according to police.
The child was taken to the hospital by EMS and police said his wound does not appear to be life-threatening at this time.
Dawson was arrested at his home and has been booked into the Dougherty County Jail.
Police said this case is still active and ongoing.
APD also want to urge parents to lock-up their guns, and not leave them unattended at home or in the car.
it only takes a few seconds for a child to pick up a gun and accidentally hurt him or herself.
“We have a right to have guns, but with that comes the responsibility to keep it away from a child. If you can’t keep it away from a child, you really have to rethink your priorities,” said an Albany resident, Jorge Porrata.
Two separate incidents, just days apart, could have easily turned deadly. When a four-year-old and an eight-year-old got a hold of guns and both accidentally shot themselves.
“It’s like a magnet. It’s like finding money laying on the ground. You know you’re going to reach down and pick it up and look at it and go, man, that’s a twenty dollar bill. But it’s a gun,” said Corporal Dillard Glover, with the Albany Police Department.
Police said the four-year-old was at home walking with a gun he found and shot himself in the shoulder. The eight-year-old shot himself in the foot. Fortunately in both cases the injuries weren’t life threatening, but officers say realistically they could have been.
“By leaving anything out like that, you’re just potentially asking for something bad to happen,” said Glover.
Which is why you’re urged to lock your guns in cabinets and safes. Even using gun locks that prevent the trigger from being pulled.
“I would never leave a firearm where a child could have access to it at anytime, especially in the home or in the car,” Glover said.
And when your kids get older, Glover said you can educate them, helping them to understand the difference between a gun and a toy.
“This should definitely be a cautionary tale to other parents who aren’t being as safe as they could be,” said Porrata.
Corporal Glover suggests you buy a gun lock.
It goes through the magazine, and if your kid did get a hold of a gun, they wouldn’t be able to pull the trigger once it locks.