Police: Man accidentally shoots son, 4, in Leesburg

By: Jason Kelly

Updated:

LEESBURG, Fla. - A 24-year-old man was arrested early Wednesday after shooting his 4-year-old son at their home, the Leesburg Police Department said.

Police were called shortly before 2 a.m. to a home on Berwick Drive near South and South 14th streets after they received a report of gunfire, Leesburg police Lt. Joe Iozzi said.

Officers discovered a vehicle parked in front of the home with two bullet holes in the windshield and they encountered Herbert James, Iozzi said.

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"James became belligerent and uncooperative, and ultimately went back inside his residence," Iozzi said. "Shortly thereafter, the officers heard a gunshot within the residence and immediately entered to check on the well-being of those within."

The officers entered the home where they found an armed James standing in his living room beside a woman who was holding their son, investigators said.

Officers said they ordered James to set down the gun and they detained him. They said they realized that the boy had been accidentally shot in the upper torso.

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"Initial details suggest James was handling the firearm inside his bedroom when the gun discharged," Iozzi said. "The bullet then traveled through the closet wall into the adjoining bedroom, where the child was struck while sleeping in bed."

Leesburg police Sgt. Travis Whitley -- a certified emergency medical technician and SWAT medic with extensive training in treating gunshot wounds -- retrieved a medical pack from his police car and began treating the boy, Iozzi said.

Whitley put the boy in another officer’s patrol car and he was taken to an ambulance that was en route, Iozzi said.

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The boy was taken to Leesburg Regional Medical Center before being transferred to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, where he is in critical but stable condition.

James was booked into the Lake County Jail on charges of aggravated child abuse and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

No other details were given.

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