Florida father shoots 4-year-old son sleeping in his bed, cops say

Herbert James
Herbert James

A Florida father faces charges, including aggravated child abuse, after police say he accidentally shot his 4-year-old son in the torso while “negligently handling” a firearm.

Herbert James, 24, also faces two counts of possessing a firearm during a felony, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

James was being held with no bond in a Lake County jail Wednesday night, records show.

According to the Leesburg Police Department, a call came in at about 2 a.m. Wednesday reporting gunshots.

When officers arrived, police said in a media release, they found a car with two bullet holes in the windshield.

As officers looked at the car, a man came out and “became belligerent and uncooperative, and ultimately went back inside his residence.”

“Shortly thereafter, the officers heard a gunshot within the residence and immediately entered to check on the well-being of those within,” police said.

Inside, officers saw the same man holding a handgun and a woman holding a child. They soon realized the 4-year-old had been shot in the upper torso, according to the release.

A Leesburg sergeant, who is a certified EMT and a SWAT medic, treated the boy before he was brought to an ambulance. He was taken to Leesburg Regional Medical Center and then transferred to Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital in Orlando in critical condition, police said. 

Police say an initial investigation revealed that James “was negligently handling the firearm inside his bedroom when the gun discharged.”

“The bullet then traveled through the closet wall, into the adjoining bedroom, where the child was struck while sleeping in bed,” police said.