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Woman shot by her 4-year-old won't be prosecuted

Son picked up, fired .45 while woman was driving in Keystone Heights

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville woman who was accidentally shot by her 4-year-old has entered a deferred-prosecution agreement on a charge of unsafe storage of a firearm to avoid facing a trial, according to 7th Circuit State Attorney R.J. Larizza.

Jamie Gilt, 31, was shot in the back March 8 while driving on a Putnam County road. The Putnam County Sheriff's Office said her 4-year-old son, who was in the back seat of the pickup truck, had picked up Gilt's .45-caliber handgun and pulled the trigger. The round went through the seat and struck Gilt in the back, exited her chest and went through the windshield.

Gilt was taken to UF Health in Gainesville, where she recovered.

Putnam County Capt. Gator 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.

The Sheriff's Office recommended Gilt, who legally owned the weapon, be charged with the the gun violation, which is a second-degree misdemeanor.

In a statement released Friday, the State Attorney said Gilt will be required to complete a gun safety course, install a mounted holster in her vehicle, provide proof of safe storage of firearms within her home and give 10 speeches related to the incident and the need to secure firearms.

DOCUMENTS: Gilt deferred prosecution agreement | Putnam County warrant

Gilt's attorney said she is glad to be able to put this behind her and that she's with her family.

In the days after the shooting, 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 bear 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.

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 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.