Two-year-old toddler dies after he found father's loaded weapon and accidentally shot himself in the face
Relatives of Ke'Anthony Jelks Jr said the boy found his father's legally purchased gun on Wednesday and accidentally shot himself.
A two-year-old boy in Alabama found his father's gun and accidentally shot himself in the face, according to his relatives. Ke'Anthony Jelks Jr was in the care of his parents when the fatal shooting took place at around 10 am Wednesday in the 3000 block of 31st Street North in Birmingham. Emergency services pronounced the toddler dead shortly after responding to the scene, Daily Mail reports.
In a conversation with WBRC, Angela Jelks Gilliam, Ke'Anthony's great-grandmother, revealed she couldn't believe her ears when her daughter called her Wednesday morning to inform her of the two-year-old's death. “And she said, 'My grandbaby dead. Jr. dead.' And I couldn’t do nothing--I couldn’t do nothing but fall to the ground--get up, walking, screaming, hollering,” Gilliam recalled.
“He was so playful, so joyful, fun, make you laugh where you would say, ‘That’s an old man in a two-year-old body',” she added.
Birmingham authorities scoured the grounds inside the Collegeville Housing Community where Jelks, Jr. lived with his parents but are yet to confirm if the boy's fatal injury was self-inflicted. Birmingham North Precinct Capt. James Jackson said: “We’re trying to confirm exactly what happened, and then we’ll proceed once we find the details."
However, the captain advised gun-owners to keep their firearms locked away in a safe place out of the reach of children. “For those of us that have guns, we just ask that you keep them safe and out of the reach of children. We know this becomes redundant, we say this all the time--situations like this is the reason why,” Jackson said.
She said it is her 2 year old grandson who got hold of the gun pic.twitter.com/glk4gPfOoO— carol robinson (@RobinsonCarol) November 14, 2018
According to Gilliam, Ke'Anthony's father has a permit to carry a gun for protection because of his odd work hours. “The father had just gotten off work. And probably just set the gun somewhere and like I said, children look and play around with stuff. And that just probably happened to fall in his eyesight. And he got it,” Gilliam said.
Echoing Jackson's call for safety, Gilliam said: “Even though his father keeps it away from him--children see where you put things at. And they think it’s a toy--they think it’s something to play with. And it’s not. Guns ain’t worth it--keep them away from around your children. And if you have to have it for protection, put a lock on them. Put a lock on them because just like it happened to me, it could happen to you, too.”
In a statement to the Jelk's family, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin extended his condolences and said he was heartbroken. He also urged the community "to ensure the safety of those we hold dear."