ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis couple has been charged with child endangerment after a 21-month-old boy found a gun that had been left down on a television stand and fatally shot himself in the head.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that prosecutors said the boy’s mother, Alea Little, 24, and her boyfriend, Donnell Straughter, 30, were lying in bed when Khori Patterson crawled out of bed on Aug. 31 and left the room. According to court documents, Little told investigators that a few minutes later she heard a gunshot and found Khori slumped over in a pool of blood.
Little told police that she knew the gun was where Khori could reach it, and neither she nor Straughter moved it.
After Khori was found, Straughter told Little he didn’t want police to know he had a gun or that the boy used it to shoot himself. Then Straughter fled and left Little at home with Khori.
The boy died as police rushed him to the hospital while being held by his grandfather.
“I kept telling him to breathe, and he would take a breath,” the boy’s grandfather, Lee Little, said to the Post-Dispatch. “I said, ‘Khori, if you hear me, hug me.’ He wrapped his arm around me, and he took a breath — and he never took another one.”