JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Putnam County Sheriff's Office has recommended that a 31-year-old woman accidentally shot by her 4-year-old son be charged with unsafe storage of a firearm.
Jamie Gilt, who was shot March 8 while driving on a Putnam County road, would face up to six months in jail if convicted on the charge, Capt. Gator DeLoach said.
The State Attorney's Office will decide whether to file the recommended charge in the case, which is a second-degree misdemeanor.
Gilt was taken to UF Health in Gainesville after she was struck by .45-caliber bullet fired by her son, who was sitting directly behind her in the pickup truck. The shot went through her seat, into her back, exited her chest and hit the windshield, DeLoach said.
At last check, Gilt remained hospitalized in stable condition.
DeLoach said that after interviewing Gilt, investigators determined that the gun had been placed under the driver's seat of the pickup truck and was not in a holster. At some point while she was driving from Jacksonville to Putnam County to pick up a horse with her trailer, the gun slid back to the floorboards of the back seat, where her son was sitting in a booster seat.
Family members told deputies that the boy had recently learned how to unbuckle himself.
"Investigators discovered the child removed himself from the seat, presumably to grab a toy from the floorboard, saw the gun, picked it up and accidentally fired," DeLoach said.
Gilt told investigators that she normally carries the firearm in a holster, but on the day of the shooting she didn't because she was going to be in and out of the vehicle, and it was a long drive.
“In the presence of a child, gun owners bare the additional responsibility of ensuring children do not gain access (to guns)," DeLoach said. "It was very clear that there was a violation here."
The boy was not hurt in the incident, deputies said.
A Putnam County sheriff's deputy on patrol noticed Gilt's truck pulling a horse trailer stopped partially in the travel lanes of State Road 20 between Palatka and Interlachen. Gilt was in the driver's seat motioning for help. Her son was the only other person in the truck.
Deputies had previously said that Gilt is a legal gun owner and has a concealed weapons permit.
The story of Gilt's shooting exploded on social media and on media sites across the world because Gilt maintained a Facebook page titled, "Jamie Gilt for Gun Sense," where she regularly posted pro-gun positions.
CBS, NBC, the New York Post and Daily News, the Daily Mail in London were among dozens of media outlets that picked up the story.
On her personal Facebook page, Gilt once bragged about her son: "Even my 4 year old gets jacked up to target shoot with the .22."
One post on the site included a quote: "My right to protect my child with my gun trumps your fear of my gun."
After the news broke about Gilt's shooting, the posts appeared to be inundated with mocking comments from other Facebook users.
News4Jax learned Gilt was arrested two years ago in Jacksonville on a charge of grand theft. According to reports, she was detained on April 4, 2013, by security guards at the Dillard's department store at the Avenues, who reported seeing her stuffing $455 worth of children's clothes into her purse and hiding the bag in a child's stroller.
According to court records, Gilt completed a pre-trial intervention program in November that year and the charges were dropped.
The Florida Department of Children and Families also is investigating the incident. The boy is with relatives.