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Posted at 04:10 PM ET, 08/09/2012

Stepfather charged in accidental shooting death of Woodbridge 4-year-old

The stepfather of a 4-year-old Woodbridge boy who found a loaded handgun and accidentally shot himself has been arrested on a child cruelty charge, Prince William County police said.

The boy, Kyrell Kyyon McNeill, climbed into a family member’s truck on July 25, found the loaded weapon and shot himself in the head. Jasmine Darnell Matthews, 27, Kyrell’s stepfather, has been charged with cruelty and injuries to children for leaving the loaded gun “in another family member’s unsecured vehicle,” according to a police statement.

Matthews, who authorities say works as a security guard, lives at the house where the death occurred, in the 14800 block of Empire Street.

“It is a tragic accident.. . . I don’t think he could foresee exactly how this would happen,”said Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert. “But he could see that a young child could gain access to a weapon and harm himself. It was a negligent act and that’s the basis of the charge.”

The boy apparently climbed into the bed of the family member’s truck and slid through the cabin window, Ebert said. That’s where he found the loaded handgun on the back seat.

Ebert explained that the charge does not “require or infer intent” and comes with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

The boy’s mother was watching him from the home’s front window, Ebert said.

Matthews has been released on a $20,000 unsecured bond and a court date is not yet available.

This post has been updated.

By  |  04:10 PM ET, 08/09/2012

 
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