2-year-old boy dies from gunshot in Westside apartment, police say

Jacksonville police have no suspects; family says boy shot himself

By Destiny McKeiver - Multi-media journalist, Roxy Tyler - Web producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A 2-year-old boy who died of a gunshot wound Saturday shot himself, the family told the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Police said Jayden James Piedra was shot about 10 a.m. at the Morningstar Apartments on Jammes Road. He was taken by Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department personnel to UF Health Jacksonville, where he later died.

"This incident occurred inside an apartment," Lt. Craig Waldrup said. "We believe we have all persons involved at this time. There are no outstanding suspects."

Toni Baber, who identified herself as Jayden's godmother, said she woke up to knocks on the door saying he shot himself.

"There’s really no explanation on how I can describe what I’m feeling," Baber said. "I don’t know how he could’ve got a hold to a gun."

Baber said Jayden was an active little boy who was well-mannered and respectful. She said Jayden's mother doesn't live at the apartment -- that they were visiting a friend.

"His mother is a good mother. She is not a person to have her children in harm's way or anything like that," Babers said."There's really no explanation on how I can describe what I'm feeling. I'm torn right now because we are all she has. We are all her kids have."

Family members said Jayden's mother is taking the news hard.

"One thing I could say is she loves her kids," said Leeadriea Farmer, a friend of the family. "That's all she got. She doesn't have any family down here. Her kids, she goes beyond and overboard for. Jayden, he was like her heart."

Jayden's father told News4Jax that the boy's mother is a good mom and was dealt a bad hand.

As this family waits anxiously for answers about what happened, police are warning parents to keep guns secured.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office released a statement after announcing Jayden had died: 

"Florida law states that any person who stores or leaves a loaded firearm on premises under his or her control, and who knows or reasonably should know that a person under the age of 16 is likely to gain access to the firearm without the lawful permission of the minor's parent or person having charge of the minor, or without supervision required by law, must do one of the following:

  • Keep the firearm in a securely locked box or container;
  • Keep the firearm in a location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure; or
  • Secure the firearm with a trigger lock."

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