Louisiana Boy, 4, Fatally Shot in 'Negligent' Incident While Adults Were Allegedly Under Influence of Marijuana

The Jefferson Parrish Sheriff's Office says no arrests have been made and the death investigation is ongoing, as it remains unclear who fired the gun

Police units respond on scene.
Police units respond on scene. Photo: Matt Gush/Getty

Police in unincorporated Westwego, La., are investigating the "negligent" shooting death of a 4-year-old boy, whose adult guardians were allegedly under the influence of marijuana at the time.

Deputies were dispatched to the 900 block of Stilwell Lane at around 10:45 p.m. local time on Saturday, where they located the child suffering from a single gunshot wound outside a residence, according to a statement from Jefferson Parrish Sheriff's Office. The boy was transported to a nearby hospital, but succumbed to his injury.

"Our initial investigation has led our investigators to believe that the child was injured not by a hostile act, but a negligent one," the statement read. "Initial accounts are that the child was sitting in a vehicle outside a residence with a younger sibling and two adults."

"As the adults were smoking marijuana in the front seat, a shot was fired inside the vehicle that struck the victim, causing the fatal injury," JPSO added.

According to the report from Sheriff Joseph Lopinto, no arrests have been made and it remains unclear who fired the shot, which "is not believed to be self-inflicted." The investigation is ongoing.

JPSO also noted that gun owners in need of a gun lock can receive one free of charge from their Public Affairs Division at 504-363-5500.

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"Part of responsible gun ownership is securing firearms at all times. Firearms should never be left unattended in vehicles or in the reach of children. Firearms should be stored unloaded and locked with a gun lock when possible," JPSO stated.

The tragic incident comes amid a recent wave of child fatalities resulting from firearms, with the Gun Violence Archive reporting that 24 children (ages 11 and under) in the U.S. have died from gunshot wounds in the first month of 2022.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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