A Tampa grandma shot her 7-year-old grandson by mistake when she thought the boy was an intruder. Police say Tuesday’s accidental shooting left the woman’s grandchild in critical condition, but no charges are planned at this time, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The incident in Town and Country, Florida underscores the need for family-focused gun safety training, especially for families with young children.
Hillsborough Sheriff’s deputies and paramedics were dispatched to a home at 6505 Alta Monte Drive. There, they met with Linda Maddox, 63 and discovered a young boy suffering from a gunshot wound to his torso. He was taken to a local hospital and underwent surgery to repair damage done by a single bullet wound.
The child’s grandmother said she shot her grandson after hearing noises and thought a burglar had entered the home. Maddox lives at the home with twin grandchildren and her son — the boys’ father — who works for as a U.S. postal worker.
Apparently, when her son heads out to work late at night, she brings the two boys into her bedroom and props a chair against the doorknob, over her fears of an intrusion in the quiet of the night.
On this night, the woman thought her worst nightmares had come to fruition. When she heard the chair sliding against the doorknob, she reached for a 22-caliber revolver and fired a blind shot in the direction of the door. Next, the frightened grandmother heard a scream, flipped on the light switch and was shocked that that the “intruder” she shot was actually one of her grandsons.
Jonathan Aristizabal, 18, a resident in the neighborhood for six months, said he often saw the twin boys playing in the neighborhood. Moreover, in his opinion, the middle-class community is safe and has not had any worrisome disturbances, according to Florida Today on the unintended shooting.
Although the home where the boy was shot has at least 11 calls for service logged in police records, none of them amounted to anything significant. Reportedly, since 2011, police visited the home, largely for suspicious persons or vehicles in the neighborhood. Another call involved an alleged identify theft.
Maddox has owned the home where shooting took place since 1986. And based on county records, in 2013 the property was partly used to operate J’s House for Girls, a foster home for girls preparing to leave the system.
This story out of the Sunshine state brings up reminders of another unrelated incident involving a senior woman who shot someone, who actually turned out to be an intruder. The story made headlines because the gun-toting woman shot the burglar, laughed about it and demanded that police return her firearm.
See the video below:
The National Rifle Association offers firearms safety tips on its website, namely for parents.
“Most states impose some form of legal duty on adults to take reasonable steps to deny access by children to dangerous substances or instruments. It is the individual gun owner’s responsibility to understand and follow all laws regarding gun purchase, ownership, storage, transport, etc. Contact your state police and/or local police for information specific to your state.”
“Store guns so that they are not accessible to children and other unauthorized users. Gun shops sell a wide variety of safes, cases, and other security devices. While specific security measure may vary, a parent must, in every case, assess the exposure of the firearm and absolutely ensure that it is inaccessible to a child.”
The incident about the grandma shooting her grandson is tragic, and with his recovery unknown, it’s unsettling. Hopefully, the child survives the shooting, and the family heals from the ordeal.
Image via Tampa Bay Times]