MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The parents of a 13-year-old boy who fatally shot his younger cousin while playing with a gun have been charged in the 9-year-old’s death, authorities in Tennessee said Wednesday.
Latria Johnson, 28, and her boyfriend Lindsey Williams, 27, have been indicted on criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment charges, the Shelby County district attorney’s office said in a news release.
Investigators said the two boys were left alone in an apartment in the Memphis suburb of Cordova on March 13, while their mothers went shopping.
The older boy, who was not named, picked up his father’s loaded .40 caliber handgun in the master bedroom and accidentally pulled the trigger, investigators said. Xavier Jackson was killed when a bullet struck him in the face, authorities said.
The gun had been left unsecured where the children had access to it, authorities said. Williams told police he routinely kept the loaded gun near a window sill and his son knew where he stored it, a police affidavit said.
Williams also was charged with resisting official detention after he tried to push his way past police and into the house.
The couple are out of jail on their own recognizance. Their lawyer, John Keith Perry, said the boys’ mothers left the children alone in the apartment for less than an hour as they went to go buy lunch.
“It’s a horrible accident that can happen even with the best intended people,” Perry said in a phone interview.