Parents are charged with manslaughter after a 3-year-old fatally shoots his toddler brother

Published 3:42 pm Tuesday, January 30, 2024

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) — The parents of a 2-year-old northern Kentucky boy have been charged with manslaughter after the toddler’s 3-year-old brother fatally shot him, a prosecutor said Friday.

The boy’s parents were arrested Thursday in a motel room in Florence, Kenton County prosecutor Rob Sanders said during a press conference.

First responders were called to the child’s home in Covington on Monday afternoon and the toddler was rushed to a hospital, but later died, police said.

The parents are accused of leaving a loaded handgun within reach of the older child, who picked it up and fatally shot the toddler, Sanders said.

“This was very much avoidable,” Sanders said. “This shooting death was caused by the fact that two adults left a loaded handgun with a round in the chamber within reach of a 3-year-old child that they did not supervise.”

The second-degree manslaughter charge against the parents is unusual in Kentucky, Sanders said.

“There is no reported case law in Kentucky on charging a parent who failed to secure a loaded handgun from a 3-year-old child that we can find,” he said. “I think by all means that we have enough evidence to sustain a conviction.”

Kentucky law defines second-degree manslaughter as wantonly causing the death of another person. He said the case will be presented to a grand jury, which could opt for a different charge before the case goes to circuit court.