(NEW YORK) — An Indiana man was arrested after his 4-year-old son was captured on security camera footage playing with a loaded gun in their apartment complex’s hallway alone, police said.
Shane Osborne, 45, was initially charged with neglect of a dependent following the incident on Saturday, according to the Beech Grove Police Department. Police determined that the child was holding a Smith & Wesson handgun that was loaded with 15 rounds in the magazine, but did not have a round chambered, according to the police report.
Police responded to the apartment complex in Beech Grove Saturday evening after a neighbor called 911 reporting that a young boy “wearing only a diaper had a chrome handgun and was pointing it at people,” according to the police report.
When officers knocked on the family’s apartment door, the child answered, police said. Osborne reportedly told police he was ill and had not realized his son had left the apartment, according to the police report. He “advised there was not a firearm in the home, nor did [his son] have any toy guns,” and later added that he had no guns due to a past felony conviction, according to the report.
Osborne assisted police in a “cursory search” of the apartment, which yielded no gun in plain view, and the officers left, according to the police report.
A neighbor then flagged the officers down as they were leaving the building and showed them security camera footage of the incident in which the child could be seen “walking around the upstairs landing of the apartment with a silver and black handgun,” according to the report.
The Beech Grove Police Department released the footage, which shows the child playing unsupervised in the common hallway with a handgun, pointing it at neighbors’ doors and himself, before going back into his apartment.
The officers returned to the apartment to conduct another search, during which Osborne reportedly told police that he does not have a firearm, but that a relative may have left one in the apartment, according to the police report. When an officer asked the child where he put his “pew pew,” the boy led them to a roll-top desk that contained the handgun, according to the report.
Osborne “did not know the weapon was in the apartment at this time, nor that [his son] knew where it was,” according to the report.
Osborne was arrested for neglect of a dependent and his son was transported to his mother’s home, police said. The arrest “gained national attention” after it was captured on the television show “On Patrol: Live,” which the Beech Grove Police Department appears in, according to Beech Grove deputy chief of administration Robert Mercuri.
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office has since charged Osborne with dangerous control of a firearm and two counts of neglect of a dependent for leaving the child “unattended and in possession of … a loaded handgun” and “able to leave the residence through the unlocked front door while only wearing a diaper,” court documents show.
During Osborne’s first court appearance on Thursday, a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf and his bail was set at $60,000, court records show. His next court appearance has been scheduled for March 1.
The Marion County Department of Child Services was notified about the incident and will also investigate, police said.
‘There’s a baby with a gun’
Nicole Summers told ABC News she called 911 after her 16-year-old son saw the child with the gun.
“When my son went to go back out, when he opened the door, he just slowly closed it and said, ‘Everybody get out of the living room, there’s a baby with a gun,'” she said.
Summers said she looked out her door and saw the boy pointing the gun toward her from the top of the stairs.
“He kind of leaned down, and that’s when he pointed the gun at me and said, ‘Look what I got’ and kind of laugh,” said Summers, who said she deals frequently with firearms in her job at a local pawn shop and knew the child was holding a real gun.
Summers said she was aware of the child holding the gun for at least five minutes and believes that he thought it was a toy.
“He is a kid, he didn’t have any clue, the severity of what he was doing,” she said. “No clue that he could have very easily taken his life or somebody else’s.”
Days later, Summers said she is haunted by what happened and questions whether she should have intervened more.
“In hindsight you think, you know, should I have just gone in the hallway? I mean, [he] was 4, I could have easily taken it,” she said. “But what if there was one in the chamber?”
Beech Grove Mayor Dennis Buckley said he was “mortified” by the incident and is “so thankful that no one was hurt, especially the young child.”
“I appreciate the quick action taken by the Beech Grove Police Department to secure the small child and the gun in question,” Buckley said in a statement to ABC Indianapolis affiliate WRTV. “I ask that the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office work tirelessly to secure charges and a conviction against the responsible parties, with maximum penalties. Society shouldn’t accept anything less.”
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