HOLLISTER, Fla. – A 31-year-old woman is in stable condition after she was shot by her 4-year-old son while driving her truck, according to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.
A deputy on patrol just after 3 p.m. Tuesday on State Road 20 at Rowland Avenue saw a truck towing a horse trailer that was stopped and looked "awkward." The woman behind the wheel, later identified as Jamie Gilt, of Jacksonville, told the deputy that she had been shot while driving.
The deputy said Gilt's son was crying uncontrollably.
"Her young 4-year-old son came into possession of a handgun inside the vehicle and accidentally shot her through the driver's seat," Capt. Joseph Wells said.
The bullet struck Gilt in the back.
The deputy provided first aid to Gilt until Putnam County paramedics arrived and took her to UF Health in Gainesville, where she was reported in stable condition.
Deputies said the .45-caliber handgun was legally owned by Gilt, but the boy got hold of it without her knowledge.
The child was with his grandmother while deputies tried to reach the father, who was at work. The Sheriff's Office has notified the Department of Children and Families.
Deputies are investigating whether any criminal charges will be filed. Florida Statute makes it a misdemeanor for a person to store or leave, on a premise under his or her control, a loaded firearm in such a manner that it is likely a child can gain access to the firearm.
"Those questions center around how is the firearm secured? Where was it carried in the vehicle? And exactly how did the young boy come in possession of the firearm?" Wells said. "I'd like to take the opportunity to remind everybody that the Florida statute is specific, and it does state that the adult household member or the child's guardian is responsible for taking all measures necessary to keep firearms out of the reach of young people."
Wells said every gun owner should have a gun lock.
"Those gun locks are available through the sheriffs office here in Putnam County," Wells said. "We provide them free of charge to any parent or anyone who wants a gun lock to help make weapon safe around children."
Detectives have not been able to interview Gilt, and any decision on the filing of criminal charges will not come until after they speak with her.
Family members told detectives that Gilt was traveling to a family member’s home in Putnam County to pick up a horse when the incident occurred.
Gilt is a gun rights advocate and managed a Facebook page titled Jamie Gilt for Gun Sense. She tweeted a picture of a custom handgun in January, saying "Got to play with my new toy today! Time to clean it up."