3-year-old's shooting death a ‘self-inflicted tragedy'

The Elkhart County Prosecutor's Office has ruled the November 2014 death of 3-year-old Jeremiah Ross a tragic accident with no criminal prosecution warranted.

Elkhart Police's Homicide Unit investigated the November 20, 2014 incident.

Their investigation revealed at approximately 7:30 p.m., Jeremiah was with his mother in the master bedroom of the home on Morton Avenue in Elkhart.

His mother left the room, then heard a popping sound.

She ran to the bedroom and found Jeremiah with a head injury and a gun on the bed.

The gun, a 9-mm Smith and Wesson semi-automatic handgun, was legally purchased and owned by the boy's father, who wasn't home when the shooting happened.

Jeremiah died from the injury.

The prosecutor's office reviewed the Elkhart Police investigation and concluded there was no evidence anyone other than Jeremiah fired the shot that killed him.

The prosecutor's office also determined there was no evidence to suggest it was anything more than a tragic accident.

The prosecutor's office said criminal prosecution was not warranted because the family lost their only child and, “any further criminal consideration is not in the best interest of justice.”

 “In memory of young Jeremiah, the public safety community is reminding all owners of weapons to be mindful of appropriate protections regarding the storage and placement of such weapons in the proximity of small children,” said Elkhart County Prosecuting Attorney, Curtis T. Hill, Jr. “It is the firearm owner's responsibility to understand safety precautions such as how and where to store a firearm and what type of locking mechanism is most suitable. If firearms and other weapons are maintained in the home, parents should gauge the risks to their family and make certain that their older children understand and respect the potential harm of a loaded firearm and that younger children in particular be insulated as best as they can to keep this type of tragic result from happening again.”

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