Child accidentally shot by father, police said


LEESBURG, Fla. — A 4-year-old child was left in critical condition early Wednesday morning after he apparently was accidentally shot by his father.

According to a Leesburg police press release, officers responded to a complaint about 2 a.m. Wednesday to shots fired in the Stock Subdivision.

Officers at the Berwick Drive scene found a vehicle with two bullet holes, shortly before the father, Herbert James, emerged from the residence and became “belligerent and uncooperative” during the investigation before he went back inside the home.


Lt. Joe Iozzi, police spokesman, said shortly thereafter, officers heard a gunshot within the home and immediately went inside.
Officers found the 24-year-old James standing in his living room, holding a handgun, along with an adult female standing near him with their 4-year-old son in her arms.
Officers directed James to place the gun on the floor, and they were able to detain him without further incident.
Iozzi added it was then discovered that the child had been accidentally shot in his upper torso.
Police believe James was handling the firearm inside his bedroom when the gun discharged.  The bullet then traveled through the closet wall, into the adjoining bedroom, where the child was struck while sleeping in bed, Iozzi said.
“Fortunately, one the officers on scene was Sgt. Travis Whitley, who is a certified EMT and Leesburg PD SWAT Medic with extensive medical training specific to treating gunshot wounds,” Iozzi said in the press release.
After initial treatment, Whitley took the child outside, where he got into another officer’s patrol vehicle, and was escorted to a meet with the responding ambulance.

The child was taken to Leesburg Regional Medical Center; then transferred to Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital in Orlando.

James was arrested on charges of aggravated child abuse and two counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.