DURHAM — A 9-year-old boy was found shot to death Monday night in his home at 412 Macon St. in what police described as an accidental shooting.
Police identified the boy as Christian Pittman. Police Chief Jose Lopez said Christian and an older brother were playing with a gun when it went off.
Lopez said police expect to file a criminal charge against the adult who was responsible for securing the gun and keeping it away from the children.
“This is all because of a lack of responsibility by an adult who kept that gun in a situation where the child could get to it,” he said. “That’s really what we’re looking at.”
Police have not released the name of the brother or other family members, including another sibling Lopez said was in the house at the time.
Police were called to the house on Macon Street at 9:40 p.m. Monday. Christian was pronounced dead at the home.
Christian was a student at Glenn Elementary School, where principal Cornelius Redfearn said counselors would be on hand for students and staff “to help us cope with this sad news.”
“Christian and his family are in our thoughts and prayers,” Redfearn said in a statement.
It was the second time this year that a young child was accidentally hit by gunfire in that block of Macon, an unpaved street that runs one block west off Washington Street in the Duke Park neighborhood, just north of downtown.
In February, police say a 21-year-old man accidentally fired a bullet that hit a 5-month-old girl who was in a car seat on a front porch. The girl was hit in a hand and a leg and was expected to survive. The man, Arin Tavon Futrell of Durham, was charged with felony negligent child abuse resulting in bodily injury.
“It just happens too often,” Lopez said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
“We had the victim who died, but, you know, the two other siblings that were in the house, they are victims also,” he said. “They will have to suffer with this … and I don’t see how easy it would be for the parents to carry on.”
Earlier Tuesday, Lopez issued a statement urging gun owners to store their weapons safely.
“The incident on Macon Street not only underscores the importance of responsible gun ownership, but painfully demonstrates the irreversible, adverse effects when practical gun safety measures are not put into practice,” Lopez said. “Safety must be a priority when there are firearms in the home.”
Lopez urged gun owners to use gun locks so the weapons can’t be fired accidentally. He said free gun locks are available from the Durham County Health Department.