For the second time in less than a month, a toddler son of an American police officer picked up a gun and fired a shot.
Last month, it was the two-year-old son of a Cleveland police officer who picked up the gun and tragically killed himself.
Last week, it was the son of a North Carolina police officer who picked up and the gun and fired a shot, striking his mother, but fortunately, not killing her.
This week, Waxhaw police officer Jeremy Ferguson was charged with failing to store a firearm to protect a minor, a misdemeanor that can result in a fine or community service if he is found guilty, according to Fox 46 Charlotte.
It’s not the harshest penalty but it does send the message that cops are not above the law.
However, in the case of Cleveland police officer Jose “Tony” Pedro, whose 2-year-old son got a hold of department-issued handgun and shot himself to death on December 23, it does not appear as if he will be charged at all.
Cleveland police described the incident as “an accidental shooting” instead of an act of negligence by having left the gun within reach of the toddler.
And Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams remained silent on the shooting.
However, in April 2015, Chief Williams was very vocal about another incident involving a three-year-old boy picking up a gun and shooting to death his one-year-old brother, calling a press conference in front of the home where the shooting took place and vowing that adults “will be held accountable.”
According to Fox 8:
“A three year-old can’t be held accountable for a tragedy like this,” Williams said. “There have to be adults that either supplied the weapon, that charged the weapons, or knew the weapons were there and didn’t do anything to safeguard them, so people will be held accountable for this tragedy.”
And sure enough, the parents of the slain baby were held accountable.
In October 2016, Ricardo Sims was sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and endangering children. Shanee Robinson, the baby’s mother, received three years probation on the same charges.
But now only time will tell if Cuyahoga County prosecutors will hold Cleveland police officer Jose “Tony” Pedro accountable for leaving a loaded department-issued gun within a toddler’s reach, allowing him to pick it up and kill himself.