Toddler kills self with deputy's gun; family sues - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Toddler kills self with deputy's gun; family sues

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Josiah Tate (Source: WYFF) Josiah Tate (Source: WYFF)

ANDERSON COUNTY, SC (WYFF) - The family of an Upstate 2-year-old boy who shot himself to death with a deputy's gun is suing the officer and the sheriff's office he worked for.

According to her attorney, the grandmother of Josiah Tate is accusing the department and former Anderson County deputy Jahwaun Blair of negligence and recklessness.

Family's Attorney, Chuck Allen, said, "It's just been extremely difficult for (the family) and there needs to be some accountability.

"It has been absolutely devastating and I'm not sure that there's words in the English language that can describe how devastating and overwhelming it has been, particularly for the mother," he said.

The boy shot himself in the head with a .38-caliber handgun on July 3 in the bedroom of a home he and his mother shared with Blair.  

The family said Blair was the mother's boyfriend.

The lawsuit says that the mother asked Blair on several occasions to put the handgun in a safe and secure location to protect the child.
    
The coroner ruled the death an accident, saying Blair had come home, took off his gun and left to run errands.

While he was out, the boy and his mother returned, and the child picked up the gun and fired.

Anderson County Sheriff John Skipper told News 4's Mandy Gaither he will be glad to address the issues as they're being brought up. Skipper said the lawsuit has been handed over to the County Attorney, Mike Pitts.
    
Blair resigned from the force Jan. 7.

The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating.  No charges have been filed in this case.

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