BERKELEY, Mo. – A man faces criminal charges in connection with the death of a seven-year-old child fatally shot himself while allegedly playing with a gun Monday.
Prosecutors have charged Walter Macon, 45, with one count of endangering the welfare of a child (leading to death) and armed criminal action. The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has identified his grandson, Darnell Macon, as the victim.
A spokesperson for the Berkeley Police Department says the shooting happened around 10:20 a.m. Monday at the Mint Townhomes in the 6700 block of Larry Lane. Investigators believe the shooting was accidental.
According to court documents obtained by FOX 2, Macon was loading studio recording equipment into his truck and allowed his grandson to enter the car. The victim was left alone in the car for around five minutes. During that time, he made his way up to the front seat and found a loaded handgun between the driver’s seat and center console.
When Macon arrived back to the vehicle, he found his grandson with a gunshot wound to the head, believed to be self-inflicted.
“I’ve seen a lot of crime scenes, and the fact that a seven-year-old child is dead is just that much more tragic and heartbreaking. We have a gun problem in this country, and we need to address it yesterday,” said St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell.
In a follow-up interview with authorities, Macon admitted the firearm belonged to him and he knew it was in the truck when leaving his grandson alone.
In wake of this situation, authorities are encouraging anyone with a gun to make sure there is a gun lock on that weapon.