SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — The most recent accidental shooting in Shreveport claimed the life of a 19-month-old toddler and landed his father behind bars on a manslaughter charge.
In the past three years, 20 accidental shootings have been reported in Northwest Louisiana. And all but four of those occurred in Shreveport.
Police Chief Ben Raymond created a firearm safety instructional video in August after a number of accidental shootings and firearm discharges in the first eight months of 2019.
“It’s unfortunate that there have been a number of negligent or accidental discharges that have resulted in injury and even death through some,” he says in the video.
The shooting that led to the 19-month-old boy’s death happened Friday night at a residence on Merwin Street. Investigators suspect that 29-year-old Kayson Wright mishandled a gun and it discharged.
One the cases that led Raymond to create the gun safety video was the accidental shooting that claimed a 2-year-old boy’s life in June. That led to the arrest of 19-year-old Jaylin Jones on charges that include negligent homicide.
In his instructional video, Raymond says such tragedies can be averted with proper gun handling techniques.
First, the police chief emphasizes, anyone holding a firearm should always keep the weapon pointed in a safe direction. “Never want that muzzle, which is the end of where the bullet comes out of, to point at anything you’re not willing to kill or destroy.”
Second, Raymond says, keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire. “So if I’m on the range and I’m about to shoot at a target, my finger never goes to that trigger until I’m actually ready to fire that round off. Otherwise, I stay outside the trigger guard.”
And third, he says, is something that should always be on your mind when handling a gun. “It’s important we always treat every weapon as if it were loaded, regardless if somebody tells you.”
Police also told KSLA News 12 that it is the firearm’s owner who is legally responsible for always having the weapon properly stored or secured.
“I think it’s a two-fold problem," police Detective Angie Willhite said. "The improper storage of weapons is a huge problem; and handling weapons that you don’t know enough about.”
DID YOU KNOW?
— There have been at least 26 unintentional shootings by children in 2020, resulting in 7 deaths and 20 injuries, the #NotAnAccident Index reports.
— The majority of deaths due to unintentional shootings involve people under age 24 who most often are shot by someone else, usually by someone their own age, according to Giffords Law Center.