Mother charged in boy's accidental shooting death
DURHAM (AP) — The mother of a 4-year-old boy who died after accidentally shooting himself in the head has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, authorities said.
Tyesha Nicole Lovely, 20, and Carlisle E. Francis Sr., 43, were charged with involuntary manslaughter and failure to secure a firearm from a minor, said Durham police spokeswoman Kammie Michael. They were not at home when Jeremiah Lovely shot himself about 9 p.m. Tuesday with a gun that had been kept under a pillow. He died early Wednesday after being taken to Duke University Hospital for surgery.
Francis was charged separately with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Police said the victim was in the home with his 6-year-old brother and Francis' 13-year-old son when the shooting happened and investigators were trying to determine what happened.
Police urged residents who had guns in their homes to get a trigger lock and said the locks were available free of charge at the police department.
Was the 4 year old home alone? If so, WTF???
We should pass a law against this, lets make it illegal for felons to buy and posses guns!
Still making the news, spinoff story...get your condoms and gun locks!
Locks on guns are talk of town
Boy's death puts Durham on alert
Samiha Khanna, Staff Writer
Victor Hughes makes sure each client who sits in his swivel chair gets more than a shave or a haircut. Sometimes they get stand-up comedy or counseling.
This week, Hughes is giving out gun locks.
"This is a barbershop," Hughes says. "We talk about everything."
Hughes and his clients currently are talking about the death of Jeremiah Lovely. The 4-year-old was inside his home Tuesday night when he wrapped his hands around an unlocked gun, accidentally shooting himself in the head.
In the following hours, doctors were trying to keep Jeremiah alive. Durham police officer Tony Paylor was trying to stop the tragedy from happening again.
Paylor was getting a routine trim at Hughes' shop, listening to people chatter about Jeremiah.
"They were talking about how it happened," Paylor said. "For anybody that has young kids, it hits home."
So the officer went to his patrol car and brought back a box of free gun locks, provided to local police departments through a government grant. He set them down on the barber's counter.
Soon, the men in the shop were getting a course in gun safety while hair clippers buzzed and checkers clattered on a table in the background.
"Guns are designed to do harm, that's the bottom line," Hughes said as he trimmed the goatee on a young man's chin. The client's 3-year-old son played nearby. "When you are not responsible, you lose control of who it does harm to."
By Thursday afternoon, the shop had sent home 20 gun locks.
When used properly, a cable hooked through the gun's chamber prevents it from firing. A key is used to secure the cable.
George Evans, 77, turned one of the looping metal locks in his hands and debated whether he needed one for his collection of hunting weapons. Perhaps when his grandchildren visit him, he said.
"I raised my children to obey and respect guns," Evans said, "and I never had a problem."
Despite Evans' teachings, his son did once swipe a .32-caliber pistol from a closet shelf and threatened a neighborhood boy with it, he admitted.
Hughes argued that a child's curiosity often prevails. He sees it every day in the 3-year-old girl he's raising.
"If [a child] sees something and they're familiar with it, they're gonna touch it," he said. "If they see something and they aren't familiar with it, they're definitely gonna touch it."
Police say there were three unsecured weapons in the apartment at 627 W. Club Blvd. where the boy lived with his mother, 6-year-old brother, his mother's boyfriend and the boyfriend's 13-year-old son. Two were shotguns, and the third was the small pistol Jeremiah found beneath a pillow. All of the guns belonged to his mother's boyfriend, investigators said.
On Thursday, the boy's mother, Tyesha N. Lovely, 20, and her boyfriend, Carlisle E. Francis, 43, appeared in court on charges of involuntary manslaughter and failure to secure a firearm from a minor. Francis also is accused of illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.
"It seems to be an accident," said Kenneth Steinberg, a lawyer who is representing Francis. "It's a tragic situation."
Both Lovely and Francis were released on bail and are scheduled to appear in court Feb. 14.
Francis and his son often came into Hughes' barbershop for a haircut, Hughes said Thursday, one of the reasons clients were touched by the incident.
Barbershops are the "watering holes," of the neighborhood, and an easy place to bring up community concerns, Hughes said. Educators have capitalized on the idea, training beauticians and barbers to bring up the tough issues.
Hughes himself has been trained to chat with clients about HIV and AIDS while they are captive audiences in his swivel chairs. He also hands out free condoms from a plastic bucket.
"A barber's kind of like a physician," he said. "They talk under terms of anonymity. They know they can speak to you and trust you."
It is a felony for a convicted felon to possess a firearm of any kind, let alone a pistol. This moron had 3 loaded weapons in the house. The child was home with his mother at the time but the boyfriend was not.
After the Admin stuff (where to go to apply for your permit) the first legal thing I talk about in my class is storage to protect minors. There is no GOOD excuse for leaving a loaded weapon lying around.