A 4-year-old Rhode Island boy was taken to the hospital in critical condition after his father, who was prohibited from possessing a firearm, shot him in the head on Tuesday, authorities said.
Michael A. Jones, 33 was arrested on suspicion of assault, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and firing in a compact area after he allegedly discharged his handgun, striking his 4-year-old son in the head, the Cranston Police Department said in a press release. Jones reportedly told officers that the gun had gone off by accident.
Police in Cranston, Rhode Island, say Michael A. Jones was prohibited from possessing a gun due to a 2022 felony assault charge.
According to police, the special victims unit found that Jones was handling a loaded 9mm handgun when it accidentally discharged, traveling through the wall and striking his son, who was in another room.
The 4-year-old’s grandfather called 911 and indicated that Jones was responsible for the shooting, the press release said.
Responding officers found Jones holding his son, who appeared to have a gunshot wound to the head, police said. The boy was taken to a hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery.
According to police, Jones was convicted of a felony assault charge in 2022 and received a two-year suspended sentence and probation, which prohibited him from possessing a firearm.
Authorities are currently investigating how Jones acquired the handgun.
“This case is particularly difficult for all involved given the age of the victim and highlights the need to keep firearms out of the hands of prohibited individuals,” Cranston Police Chief Col. Michael Winquist said in the release. “A tragedy like this hits home with our first responders, many of whom have children of their own.”
According to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics, firearm-related injuries are the leading cause of death among U.S. children and adolescents, surpassing car accidents and diseases. Data shows that from 2018 to 2021, there was a 41.6% increase in the firearm death rate.