Criminal charges possible for father of 5-year-old who died while playing with gun

Criminal charges possible for father of 5-year-old who died while playing with gun

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The father of a five-year-old who got her hands on a gun and killed herself, in Laplace Saturday, could face criminal charges. That's according to one attorney, as gun safety experts stress the importance of keeping guns away from children.

Firearms instructor David Ramey says it's not difficult for a child as young as five to pull the trigger on a gun.

"Anything can happen, freak accidents, they just hit it at the right moment, the right combination and a firearm is gonna go off," Ramey said.

He points out, turning off a safety on some firearms, is as easy as flipping a switch.

"If a child can figure out how to climb a refrigerator to get the cookies on top, a child can figure out how to manipulate it," Ramey explained.

Saturday morning, Haley Moore shot and killed herself after playing with a gun in her father's home on Country Club Drive.

Neighbor Joy Ursin comments, "It is truly, I mean, just tragic because those kids are his life."

Neighbors say Haley's father, a retired vet, is vigilant about gun safety, but say they heard the weapon was left on a table while he was taking a shower. FOX 8 Legal Analyst Joseph Raspanti says those actions could expose Haley's dad to criminal charges.

"The two charges could be negligent homicide or possibly cruelty to a juvenile, that's kind of a catch all charge and you can also catch jail time with that," Raspanti explained.
Negligent homicide carries a sentence of up to five years.

David Ramey says it's important for parents talk to their kids about guns and keep them in a secure location, yet he admits, it's sometimes hard to curb a child's fascination.

"We have all sorts of video games that the kids are playing that have firearms where they have to go through the motions of loading a magazine in order to fire so they're getting a lot of information out there but a lot of times they're not told of the consequences," Ramey said.

In January, a New Orleans East grandmother was arrested and charged with negligent homicide after the gun she kept in her bed, discharged, killing her three year old grandson.

The St. John Parish Sheriff's Office hasn't yet said if Haley's father will face any charges, himself.

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