Three-year-old Miami, Florida, toddler Darnel Mundy remained in critical condition days after accidentally shooting himself in the head with a gun that was lying loaded in an unlocked dresser drawer — a gun that his distraught parents say they kept for self-defense in the rough neighborhood where they live.
After she drove her little boy to a nearby hospital immediately following the apparent accident Tuesday morning, mom Dorphise Jean pleaded with the public not to judge the way she and the boy's dad raise their son.
"Don't bash us as parents, because we are good parents," the little boy's mom said. "Just pray for my son."
Police are now investigating what appears to be a horrifying accident that seriously injured the toddler — but cold have been much worse. Darnell was conscious and crying the whole way to the hospital as his frantic parents sped there.
His condition was said to be improving by a day later, with swelling in his brain appearing to subside somewhat. But the child is not out of the woods yet.
At about 6 a.m. Tuesday, Jean said she had Darnel's dad were asleep when they heard a single gunshot. They discovered that Darnell had been searching for his parents' iPad to play games, climbing on a chair to reach the dresser drawer where he thought his mom and dad kept the device.
Instead, according to his mother's account, he found a loaded gun. The gun then went off, shooting the little boy in the head.
"We both have firearms. We always secure it. We had it locked up but obviously our son is a very curious boy, he want to start climbing stuff," Jean told CBS Miami. "Please don't bash us, because it was in a secure area."
Police said that they are investigating the incident, and in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, had yet to reach any conclusions.
"All we know for sure is that we have a child who was shot," said Miami Police detective Frederica Burden. "We're investigating all options, and until we are certain we know what happened we are not saying that he shot himself."
Though the parents said that they kept loaded guns in their home because their neighborhood in the Little Haiti district of Miami is a dangerous area, Burden said that the neighborhood was not exceptionally crime-ridden.
"Every neighborhood has its problems," the detective said. "This isn't somewhere I'd say don't live, or anything like that."
In May, a 2-year-old boy in Arizona discovered a gun on a bed while playing with his grandmother and accidentally shot himself in the face — but survived. A 3-year-old in Michigan in late June wasn't as lucky, accidentally killing himself with a handgun he found in a closet in his parents' home.
Police said they could take several days to finish their investigation into how Darnell Mundy was shot in the head.
[Image: Dorphise Jean Facebook]