A Las Vegas police officer could face criminal charges after his young son shot himself with a handgun in their Moapa Valley home Saturday night.
The boy, whose name and age were not released, was in critical condition at University Medical Center on Monday as the Metropolitan Police Department’s Abuse and Neglect Detail investigated the incident.
Police said the child was put to bed in his parents’ bedroom late Saturday evening when he discovered the gun in a night stand. The gun discharged, striking the child in the arm and abdomen, police said.
Emergency officials were called to the scene, in the 600 block of Lillian Condie Road, at 10:53 p.m. The child was transported to University Medical Center in critical condition, where he remained today.
County records indicate the home is owned by Jared Bledsoe, a Las Vegas police officer who joined the department last year.
The Abuse and Neglect Detail’s investigation will be submitted to the Clark County district attorney’s office, which will decide whether to prosecute Bledsoe.
Based on similar incidents involving children injured or killed by their parent’s firearms, Bledsoe could face charges of felony child abuse and neglect or felony child endangerment.
The district attorney’s office has prosecuted parents whose actions resulted in the death or injury of their children.
In 2004 two parents were charged with abuse and neglect after leaving a handgun in a washing machine; a teen seized the gun and accidentally shot and killed his friend. In 2007 the parents of a 3-year-old boy were charged with abuse and neglect after the boy took a gun from under a pillow and accidentally shot himself.
"They’re not pleasant cases to prosecute because they’re always tragic," Clark County District Attorney David Roger said.
The most recent case, from December, involved another Metropolitan Police Department employee.
Robert Meade, a civilian firearms specialist employed by the department, was home at the 6600 block of Pickford Lane, near Rainbow Boulevard and U.S. Highway 95 on Dec. 21.
He had temporary custody of his 4-year-old grandson, who had Down syndrome, according to Roger. About 7:30 p.m. Meade went into the master bedroom, shut the door and went to use the bathroom.
He placed his handgun between his feet.
"In his training, that was the way he was taught, where you should keep the gun stored safely and for easy access," Roger said.
His grandson entered the bathroom and Meade told him to leave. The boy left but returned and reached for the gun. Meade, not realizing the boy had a finger on the trigger, pulled the gun away from him, Roger said.
The gun discharged, striking the boy in the hand. He was hospitalized with a nonlife threatening injury.
"It was merely an accident," Roger said.
Meade was not charged because authorities could not show that he intentionally or recklessly placed his grandson in harm’s way, Roger said.
State law requires that parents have their firearms securely stored.
"As we view it, parents who have firearms have to secure their weapons at all times," he said.
Meade is still employed by the department.
Police said the Internal Affairs Division will review Bledsoe’s case to determine whether policies were violated.
Contact reporter Lawrence Mower at email@example.com or 702-383-0440. Contact reporter Mike Blasky at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0283.