A New Jersey cop has been charged for leaving a loaded and unsecured .357 revolver in reach of his 8-year-old daughter who was fatally shot with that same gun on New Year’s Eve.
Kenneth Righter, 46, was charged with three counts, including leaving a loaded firearm unsecured, storage of firearms if minors may have access and felony endangerment of a child, according to Philly.com.
Investigators determined Righter left the gun on a shelf where it was accessible to three children, including a 14-year-old, a 17-year-old and his daughter Sailor Lane Righter.
Prosecutor’s for Camden County have not yet revealed whether Sailor or another family member fired the gun, but stated only family members were home at the time of the shooting.
The Stratford Police Department received a 911 call from the Righter family’s home around 1:50 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.
“We need help now!”
“My mom just went upstairs and found her, and she told me to call 911,” a sibling told a dispatcher. “She’s not breathing.”
He then told the dispatcher his mother was taking the girl to the Kennedy University Hospital where she was pronounced dead around 2:15 p.m.
Righter has been a cop with the Stratford police department since 2004 and passed firearms training several times recently, including when he scored 100 percent with his personal revolver, according to records.
The weapon used in Righter’s training is the same weapon that killed Sailor, according to local authorities.
The Stratford police department has guidelines in place on storing a weapon at home.
“Each full-time member of this police department shall be issued a secure gun-locking device, which without exception shall be utilized each day,” the guidelines state.”Officers are encouraged to purchase a safe to further safeguard weapons.”
Righter faces up to 10 years behind bars for the child endangerment charge, a second degree felony, and a maximum of six months in county jail for the other charges.
“She adored cheer leading and playing softball,” according to her obituary. “She will be forever missed by her family.”
A week before Sailor’s tragic death, we reported about Cleveland cop Jose “Tony” Pedro, 54, who left his department issued weapon in reach of his 2-year-old son who fatally shot himself in the head.
Pedro has not been charged, but Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams pushed for charges against Cleveland resident Ricardo Sims, 27, after he left a gun in his son’s reach by hiding it underneath the couch where his girlfriend’s three-year-old son was able to grab it to shoot and kill his one-year-old brother, Braylon Robinson.
Chief Williams blasted gun culture during a press conference, vowing that adults “will be held accountable.”
“This is a senseless loss of life for this city again, and it’s directly related to guns,” Williams told reporters. “We need to really take a hard look at the things we’re doing out there on the state, local and the national level to get some of these guns out of our communities, because nothing good ever happens.”
Pedro has yet to be charged.
On January 11, we reported about Waxhaw, North Carolina cop Jeremy Ferguson who was charged with a misdemeanor after leaving his gun in reach of his toddler-aged son, who picked it up and shot his mother, who fortunately survived the shooting.