3-year-old shoots self as he plays with gun Victim was reported in critical condition at Hopkins last night

April 24, 1996|By Michael James | Michael James,SUN STAFF

A 3-year-old boy who was playing with a gun that he found under a mattress shot himself in the head yesterday at his family's Northeast Baltimore rowhouse, city police said.

Charles Mangum of the 3300 block of Kenyon Ave. was in critical condition last night at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

He shot himself with a .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun, said Agent Ragina Cooper, a police spokeswoman.

Charles was home with his grandmother, who police said is his legal guardian, when he found the loaded gun about 3: 45 p.m. in an upstairs bedroom.

"He was looking at it and examining it when it discharged and struck him once in the head," Agent Cooper said.

She said the gun belongs to Charles' uncle, De'von Marshall, 25, who lives at the house and was charged last night with keeping an unsecured weapon, a misdemeanor that carries a $1,000 fine.

Family members were unavailable for comment.

Several neighbors in the brick rowhouses on Kenyon Avenue stood outside yesterday and discussed their feelings about guns and how they should be safely stored away from children.

"If people have guns in their house, they should keep them locked up," said Dave Alluisi, who lives across the street and heard about the shooting on a police scanner he monitors. "If you have a weapon and you're an adult, you have a responsibility to keep it away from the kids."

Mr. Alluisi, who has a 6-year-old daughter, said he keeps a rifle and a handgun in his home. But they are stored in a cabinet, high above the floor, that the child can't reach, he said.

Mary Musick, who lives next to Charles' home, said she would see Charles riding his tricycle in the street.

"He's such a nice little boy. It's a shame," she said. "This just goes to show you've got to be really careful with guns in the house."

Pub Date: 4/24/96

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