A 4-year-old boy in Houston died early Sunday morning after finding his father’s handgun and shooting himself in the stomach.
Houston Police Sgt. Harris told KTRK that 4-year-old Jaiden Pratt’s weekend with his father, 23-year-old Marquez Pratt, ended in tragedy. The father and son had gone to sleep on the couch. After waking up, Jaiden picked up the gun and accidentally fired a round into his own stomach.
Paramedics tried to revive child, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
“This is not a case of a responsible homeowner having a weapon for protection,” Harris said.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the serial number of the handgun was listed as stolen. Marquez Pratt was expected to face charges resulting from drugs and several weapons found in the home.
Harris said that the father had been cooperative with police.
“He kept saying, ‘I messed up. I messed up,’” Harris explained. “He’s in mourning. He’s in pain and feels a lot of self guilt… Despite the choices he made and the lifestyle he was leading, it doesn’t take away the love a father has for a son.”
At one point, police had to restrain a grieving family member who later arrived at scene and began yelling.
“I’m gonna kill him! I’m gonna kill him!” the woman shouted as she crossed the yellow crime-scene tape.
Watch this video from KHOU, broadcast Feb. 24, 2013.