Dad arrested after son accidentally shoots 8-year-old friend, police say

Boy suffers non-life-threatening injuries; man faces weapons charge

By Ethan Calloway - Anchor/reporter, Jim Piggott - Reporter, News4Jax.com Staff

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A man was arrested after his 9-year-old son took a gun from a dresser drawer and accidentally shot his 8-year-old friend Thursday night inside a home in Northwest Jacksonville, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. 

Tremaine Walker II was shot in the torso and was in surgery overnight, police said. The boy was expected to survive.

The shooting was reported about 9 p.m. at Ronald Blackman's home on West 45th Street near New Kings Road, where Walker was playing in a back bedroom with Blackman's 9- and 7-year-old sons. After the shooting, Blackman drove the injured boy to a nearby fire station.

According to police, a .22-caliber Colt handgun and a single shell casing were found on the kitchen counter.

The gun was found to have been reported stolen on February 11, 2017.

Blackman was arrested for possession of a weapon by a felon and permitting possession of a firearm by a minor. He was convicted in 2013 for possession of over 20 grams of marijuana. In court on Friday, Blackman was ordered held on $200,000 bond.

This was the fifth child injured or killed this year by a gun found by another child. 

Adults are required to keep firearms out of the reach of children, but there is no prosecution in most cases.

"It's in the law books that you are responsible for the firearms in your home," News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said. "However, we don't see people being prosecuted for that. We may see somebody that has a weapons charge or an outstanding warrant on something else, but not for the culpable negligence for the child shooting himself or someone else with a firearm."

Recent cases

Feb. 4: Five-year-old Serenity Allen was killed and another child was wounded when a gun being handled by an 8-year-old boy went off at the Roosevelt Gardens Apartments. The gun belonged to Maurice Mobley, the boyfriend of one of the children. He was arrested for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

April 30: Ramya Eunice, 12, was shot in the head during a sleepover on Willow Branch Lane. The woman hosting the sleepover told police that another child found a gun in an adjacent vacant house and brought it back to her house. No charges were filed.

May 14: A 5-year-old boy whose name was never released was accidentally shot inside a home on Vining Street in the Jacksonville Heights area. No charges were filed.

The Associated Press recently examined child shootings across the country that resulted in prosecutions between 2014 and 2016. Seven of those cases were in Florida. Four of them resulted in plea agreements with sentences of either probation or prison time of one to three years. The other three cases are still pending.

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