11 area children under 9 years old shot themselves in recent years: What were the consequences?

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

When young children find guns in the home and unintentionally shoot themselves, more often than not the gun owner receives probation, and sometimes no charges are ever filed.

This news organization identified 11 times in recent years a young child got ahold of a gun and injured or killed themselves. Six cases led to charges against an adult. Only one case resulted in a prison sentence.

The most recent incident happened over the weekend weekend when a child was injured in an accidental shooting in Clark County.

Following is a look at what happened in the aftermath of area unintentional shootings over the last five years:

A 22-month-old boy shot himself in the head Feb. 11 with a gun reportedly kept under a bed at a Republic Drive apartment in Harrison Twp. where he lived with his mother, Rashaunda Faye Rogers and her fiancée, Dariale Omari Brazzell. Both women were indicted Feb. 22 by a Montgomery County grand jury in the accidental shooting: Rogers for endangering children, tampering with evidence and having weapons while under disability; and Brazzell for obstructing justice. Both are no longer in custody and are due back in court Wednesday.

A 4-year-old boy shot himself in the abdomen April 12, 2023, with a loaded handgun he found between the seats of an SUV parked at Jacot Park in the 4000 block of Grand Avenue in Middletown. His brother, 26-year-old Yvonte I. Glover, was sentenced Nov. 28, 2023, in Butler County Common Pleas Court to two years probation after he pleaded guilty to attempted improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle.

A 3-year-old boy, Jared Green, shot and killed himself March 30, 2023, with a gun left on a window sill of a house in the 900 block of Park Avenue in Hamilton. Benjamin Bishop, a former Centerville police officer, was sentenced Nov. 6, 2023, in Butler County Common Pleas Court to seven years in prison after he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

A 2-year-old boy, Amorie Jetton Bell, shot himself June 8, 2022, in the 700 block of Goodlow Avenue in Dayton. He died three days later at Dayton Children’s Hospital. A woman who called 911 said her nephew shot himself. Police presented charges to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office, but no formal charges were filed, according to Dayton police.

A 5-year-old boy shot himself in the leg April 27, 2022, with a gun he found in his father’s bedroom in the 800 block of 10th Avenue in Middletown. Fernando Enamorado was sentenced Oct. 31, 2022, in Butler County Common Pleas Court to five years probation plus 14 days in jail to after he pleaded guilty to attempted endangering children.

A 3-year-old boy shot himself in the leg Aug. 2, 2021, at the Bloomfield Apartments in Trotwood. His mother said the boy picked up the gun and shot himself. Police presented the case to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office, which refused the charges, according to the Trotwood Police Department.

A 2-year-old boy shot himself in the chest March 6, 2021, at a Gant Drive home in Harrison Twp. His mother, Allysa Howard, was convicted in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court of felony endangering children and was sentenced in June 2021 to five years of probation and 90 days jail. Her probation ended in February 2023.

A 6-year-old boy, Georgevoine Campbell, fatally shot himself in the head June 26, 2020, with his grandmother’s gun at her home on Royal Drive in Springboro. The boy’s father, George Lee Campbell Jr. pleaded guilty in Warren County Common Pleas Court to weapons under disability because he showed his mother how to load the gun, which he could not do as a convicted felon. His probation ended in May 2023.

A 3-year-old boy shot himself in the leg Jan. 13, 2020, at a Eubanks Drive house in Riverside. The boy found his father’s gun in a bedroom, brought it to the living room where he accidentally shot himself while playing with it. The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office declined to file charges, according to Riverside police.

A 9-year-old boy shot himself Oct. 26, 2019, after finding a gun at his babysitter’s house in Trotwood. Child endangering and weapons charges were presented Dec. 20, 2019, to a Montgomery County grand jury, which declined to indict, according to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office.

Gun safety urged

Many unintentional shootings could be avoided if the firearm owners safely stored their guns, said Nichole Michaels, principal investigator at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

“I think it’s important to think about it the same way that we think about child-proofing our home, keeping poisons out of the hands of kids,” she said.

Hiding a firearm in the house or trying to teach a child not to touch the firearm do not seem to work, she said.

“Layers of protection, I think, is key, so the more you are willing to do to keep the firearms out of the hands of kids, the safer that they’ll be,” Michaels said. “We recommend they store them unloaded, and it’s safer if you store them unloaded and locked.”

In the wake of the accidental shooting last month in Harrison Twp., Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. announced a new campaign that encourages gun owners to safely store their firearms.

Heck’s office is displaying digital billboards across Montgomery County that say, “75% of kids know where it’s hidden. Safely store your firearms.”

The billboards reference research that suggests that about three-fourths of children who live in homes with guns know where they are stored.

“Children are naturally curious and simply do not understand the dangers of firearms and the problems with handling firearms,” Heck said. “Where do children get these guns? Well, they’re not going to the gun store and buying them. Most of the time, they are getting the gun from home, from where it’s easily accessible, unfortunately.”

Responsible gun owners store their guns safely, especially when a child is in the home, said Heck, adding that reputable gun sellers typically provide buyers with gunlocks because they know they can save lives.

Heck says his office has free gunlocks for any firearm owner who wants one.