Prosecutor: 3-year-old Hamilton boy’s shooting death may go to grand jury

A Hamilton Police investigation is continuing into the March 30 fatal shooting of a toddler who apparently discharged a firearm, causing a head wound, and Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said the incident will likely get scrutiny by a grand jury.

Emergency crews responded at about 7 p.m. that day to the 900 block of Park Avenue and found the 3-year-old boy with a gunshot wound on the left side of his head. He was taken to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where he died.

The Hamilton County Coroner’s Office said Monday it is releasing no additional information, and Hamilton Police had no update. The police report released last week lists the child’s death as “unspecified.”

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

A 911 caller told dispatchers they believed the child discharged the handgun himself.

“He picked up a firearm,” the caller told a Butler County dispatcher.

After a few questions on his condition, the dispatcher asked, “He did shoot himself, right?”

“Yes, we believe so,” the caller said.

The caller said the gun used was on the second story at the residential home when it was discharged. The gun remained on that floor, the caller said, and the child was brought to the first floor.

The caller said the child’s mom is a nurse but could not control the bleeding despite applying pressure. The boy also experienced seizures after he apparently shot himself.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Gmoser said Hamilton Police have been in touch with his office about the incident. He said parental responsibility is in question.

“We have had these before. We will examine every case on a case-by-case basis with the issue of parental responsibility. It may be one of those situations where a grand jury will have to take a look at it,” Gmoser said.

“Even though as an ordinary human being, my heart goes out to the parents of a grieving child that kills themself accidently, when it happens through neglect, I am not going to take the place of a grand jury to decide whether or not it should considered criminally,” he said.

Last week, a mother was indicted by a grand jury on two counts of involuntary manslaughter and four counts of felony child endanger for a September 2022 house fire that killed two children, ages 4 and 2. Four children were home alone when the fire began, according to firefighters and prosecutors.

Last year, a Middletown father was indicted for felony child endangering after his 5-year-old son accidently shot himself in the leg while playing with a gun found in the father’s bedroom. The child recovered.

The father plead guilty to a lesser charge and was placed on probation after serving 14 days in the Butler County Jail, according to court records.

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