A Fla. grandma shoots her 7-year-old grandson, mistaking the young boy as a burglar. The grandson is listed as being in critical condition. The grandmother, 63-year-old Linda Maddox, has a history of calling police over perceived home invasions. Maddox would sleep in a locked bedroom with a chair under the doorknob, with her two twin grandsons, and kept a loaded pistol bedside.
Writes The Associated Press, via ABC News: “Sheriff's spokeswoman Cristal Bermudez Nunez said Maddox felt unsafe when her son would work overnight, so she would bring her grandchildren into the bedroom with her and block the door with a leaning chair. She said deputies have been called to the house 12 times since 2005, including a call about a suspicious person on June 20, 2011, and a suspicious vehicle last Jan. 2. None of those calls turned into anything significant, she said.”
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said Maddox’s son Reginald, 46, left for overnight work at the USPS, and at approximately 1 a.m. Tuesday, Linda heard the door rattling and the chair moving. Grabbing the .22 caliber gun, the fearful grandmother fired indiscriminately in the dark, hitting her 7-year-old grandson, Tyler Maddox, in the chest.
Tyler and his brother Tyrique were both sleeping in Maddox’s room in their five-bedroom house at 6505 Alta Monte Drive in Tampa when Tyler got up and was attempting to leave the bedroom to go to the bathroom. The sound of the chair scraping against the floor awakened Maddox, who opened fire.
The suburb is not a high crime area, and no recent break-ins had been reported in the neighborhood. Police records indicate that multiple visits to the home for possible thefts, suspicious persons and even identify theft, all proved nil.
TampaBay.com., which carried a photo of Linda with Tyler, reported: “Several neighbors who live near the home on Alta Monte Drive described the block as quiet. Sylvia Hehemann, who has lived there for 43 years, said residents are friendly and she feels safe walking around her neighborhood.”
“It's a tragedy,” she said. “I don't know of any problems we've had in the neighborhood.”
The CS Monitor says the incident highlights the need for caregiver gun safety.
Writes Correspondent Lane Brown:
The boy is expected to survive, but the situation raises questions about what conversations parents might have with caregivers about guns in the house.
First, I have compassion for this poor woman. A knee-jerk response to this case might be for parents to say that a grandparent or caregiver shouldn't have a gun in the house in the first place. This argument is supported with plenty of evidence that points to unfortunate incidents of unintentional shootings, especially when children discover a weapon unsecured.
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