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July 31, 2014

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Metro officer, wife face charges after toddler shoots self

Approximate area of shooting

The parents of a 2-year-old boy who shot himself in the abdomen with his father’s Metro Police-issued handgun are facing charges of child abuse and neglect with substantial bodily harm after a February incident at the family’s Overton home.

Investigators said Jared and Shawnee Bledsoe allowed their son to be placed in a situation where he “suffered unjustifiable physical harm and mental suffering” when they left a loaded handgun in a nightstand drawer accessible to their son, Jared Benjamin Bledsoe, according to an arrest report released Monday.

Shawnee Bledsoe called 911 at 10:53 p.m. Feb. 6 to report her son had a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the abdomen, through the chest and arm, and that he had shot himself with a .45-caliber Wilson Combat handgun that belonged to her husband, a Metro officer.

A police officer in the area of the home in the 600 block of Lillian Condie Road heard the report come in over dispatch and responded to the scene. He transported the Bledsoes to a Clark County Fire Department station in Overton, where emergency medical technicians transported the boy by ambulance to University Medical Center in Las Vegas. Jared was taken into emergency surgery.

While the family was at UMC, other officers responded to the home to interview witnesses. Investigators learned the Bledsoes had several guests over and were playing cards in the kitchen after they had put Jared and their other son, age 4, to bed.

After interviewing Jared and Shawnee Bledsoe at UMC, investigators learned they had put Jared to bed in their master bedroom. They said they often separated the children at night to prevent them from keeping each other awake.

While the group was playing cards, a gunshot was heard from the master bedroom, according to the police report. Jared and Shawnee Bledsoe, along with the other adults in the home, rushed to the room, where they found Jared on his back on the bed with an injury to his abdomen. Shawnee Bledsoe called 911.

During the interview, Jared Bledsoe told investigators he typically stored the handgun in the nightstand drawer. A second unsecured loaded handgun was on the floor of a closet inside a bag.

The bullet from the Wilson handgun went into the boy's abdomen, through his small bowel, liver, colon, diaphragm, lung and arm, the report stated. A surgeon said the boy’s surgery went well, but he would continue to need follow-up care and future surgeries to repair the damage.

Metro’s forensics department analyzed the Wilson pistol, which was found to be operational with no malfunctions, the report stated.

Police again interviewed the Bledsoes on Feb. 16. Shawnee Bledsoe told investigators there were no locks on the drawer or on the weapon, but told police that to fire the gun, one would have to depress the grip safety and pull the trigger at the same time.

She told police she and her husband believed they needed to be prepared to defend their family. The children knew guns were in the home but didn’t know where they were kept and knew that they weren't supposed to touch them, she told police.

She said she sometimes keeps a gun under her pillow when her husband is away.

Jared Bledsoe said he didn’t think his son would be able to manipulate both safeties and fire the gun and said the thumb safety is always on when the gun is being stored.

At the time of the shooting, police said Metro’s Internal Affairs Division would review the case after it was reviewed by the Clark County District Attorney’s Office to determine if any of the department’s policies were violated.

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