Parents arrested after leaving 6 kids in vehicle with guns - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Parents arrested after leaving 6 kids in vehicle with guns

Shelve Smith (photo from SBSO) Shelve Smith (photo from SBSO)

FOX 8 received this news release from the St. Bernard Sheriff's Office Thursday afternoon:

A man and a woman who said they were homeless were arrested in Chalmette after they left two loaded handguns in a vehicle with their six children ages seven years to just five months old as they shopped 20 minutes in a store, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.

"This could have easily ended in a tragedy,'' Pohlmann said. "To leave two loaded guns with your very young children in a parked car is the height of idiocy. Just leaving the kids alone, period, in a store parking lot at their ages was criminally negligent.''

One gun was between the driver seat and the console and the other was between passenger seat and the console.

Sheriff Pohlmann said a number of adults are arrested each year for leaving young children alone in vehicles while they shop.

Shelve Smith, 27, and Regina Lee, 24, who said they didn't have a permanent address, were both booked with child desertion for leaving the minors unsupervised. The incident happened in mid-afternoon on April 1. The couple has since been released from jail on bond.

The children were released to a relative after the parents' arrests.

A passer-by noticed the children alone in the vehicle and notified a sheriff's deputy who was at the store working an off-duty, security detail, the sheriff said.

Other deputies who were called determined from store video surveillance that the youngsters had been alone 20 minutes before Smith and Lee returned to the vehicle, acknowledging the six were their children.

When the vehicle was impounded for safe keeping following the arrests, a mandatory search to inventory property revealed the loaded handguns, the sheriff said.

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