Child dies after shooting himself at Henrico apartments

Child dies after shooting himself at Henrico apartments
Demetrius Jefferson
Police were called to the scene on North Laburnum Avenue around 8 p.m. Monday. (Source: NBC12)
Police were called to the scene on North Laburnum Avenue around 8 p.m. Monday. (Source: NBC12)

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A child who was shot Monday night in Henrico's East End has died.

Police and fire officials received a call just after 8 p.m. Monday for a report of a shooting at an apartment in the 200 block of North Laburnum Avenue involving a child.

Tuesday morning, the family spokesperson, Ricky Johnson, confirmed it was four-year-old Demetrius Jefferson who died.

Johnson said the boy found a gun, fired it and shot himself.

"He was curious, yes, he was curious," said Demetrius's mother Tiara Rogers. "I never thought something like this would ever... I'm still struck."

Rogers said she had taken some medicine for her ADHD Monday night that made her drowsy, and she fell asleep.

She said she woke up to the sound of a gunshot going off. Now she's trying to prevent this situation from happening to other parents.

"Some parents may doze off, but you need to be more alert because kids are very active these days," Rogers said. "Keep an eye on the kids."

"[It happens] one too many times," said safety expert Mike Jones. "Everyone is an absolute tragedy and it's absolutely preventable."

Jones said he's worked plenty of these cases in his law enforcement career, and they aren't easy.

"It's a tragedy for everyone involved," he said. "For the family especially... for the police officers who have to work these things. You can't unsee these things."

Jones said securing your firearms safely is the number one priority, and talking to children about the dangers of guns.

"Local reputable gun shops that exist in town have gun locks," Jones said. "They do sell locks online, but buyers beware. Any gun lock is better than no gun lock."

Rogers said the gun did not belong to her, rather it was a family heirloom that was supposed to be kept away.

Meanwhile, Rogers and her family continue to cope with what they said was a tragic accident that unfolded Monday night.

"He was jolly all the time," she said. "If he saw you [feeling] down, he'd come and give you a hug or a kiss on the cheek."

Rogers said Demetrius' favorite colors were red, white and blue, and he was a big superhero fan.

"He liked Iron Man and the Hulk," she said. "When the Hulk came on, he'd 'Hulk smash'... and he'd do Iron Man. I'm gonna miss seeing that. He was my joy. He was my everything."

The family plans to hold a vigil outside the apartment complex Sunday:

  • 291 N. Laburnum Avenue - 6 p.m. Sunday, May 13

Henrico police said Tuesday morning the circumstances surrounding the shooting were still being investigated.

There's no word on if charges will be filed.

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