3-year-old boy accidentally kills grandfather in N.C. shooting


March 24, 2003, 05:07 PM
The Associated Press State & Local Wire

March 23, 2003, Sunday, BC cycle

SECTION: State and Regional

LENGTH: 182 words

HEADLINE: 3-year-old boy accidentally kills grandfather in N.C. shooting


A Southport man whose 3-year-old grandson accidentally shot him with his own pistol died Saturday, family members said.

Jeffery Tobias Shaw, 40, was declared dead at New Hanover Regional Medical Center after being taken off life support.

"It was a freak accident," his wife, Teresa Shaw, told the Morning Star of Wilmington.

Shaw, a member of the National Rifle Association and a gun club, had put a loaded handgun in his vehicle as he prepared to go to a gun range Friday. The boy picked up the gun and shot Shaw once in the head as he stood in the yard.

The boy has several toy guns and didn't know the difference between those and real ones, Teresa Shaw said.

Law enforcement officials could not be reached for comment over the weekend. No charges had been filed by Sunday, said Robert Gandy, Southport city manager.

"He was a fine man," said Teresa Shaw, Shaw's wife of 19 years.

"He was a very Christian and community-oriented man who would go out of his way to get involved," said Southport Mayor Norman Holden, who served on a church board with Jeffery Shaw.

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ballistic gelatin
March 24, 2003, 05:16 PM
That sucks. I wonder what type of handgun it was? I don't really see my 4 year old chambering a round in my Beretta. A revolver maybe?

El Tejon
March 24, 2003, 05:31 PM
Must . . . control . . . rage.:fire:

Yet again: Handguns belong in your HOLSTER. Not in your pocket, briefcase, between the seats or on the floorboard.

Buy a holster, prevent a tragedy and ammo for the antis.:(

March 24, 2003, 06:16 PM
At times like these, I'm glad for my Beretta's safety. Never put a loaded gun in the car when you're heading to the range. Those carrying for traveling, keep it on you at all times with a safety on if you have them, especially if you live with children or are visited frequently by relatives that do. This should have been ingrained for an old hand. I hope the grandson won't have a memory of this awful day. What a terrible consequence for a brief lapse of judgement.

March 24, 2003, 06:25 PM
My guns are only loaded while on my person in a holester. They are only removed from the holester when I intend to shoot. Other then that they are in the safe unloaded with loaded mags next to them.

ballistic gelatin
March 24, 2003, 06:28 PM
On my way home from the office, I was wondering what kind of memories that kid will be left with.

March 24, 2003, 06:58 PM

March 24, 2003, 07:16 PM
:banghead: :banghead: :banghead: :banghead: :banghead:

Sorry for the family that has to live with it.
Educate your kids young, I did. They still have fun at the range.

March 24, 2003, 07:17 PM


- Gabe

March 24, 2003, 07:35 PM
Hate to sound cold blooded, but he had it coming. What the heck was he thinking? With a 3 year old running around the house, why did he even leave a loaded gun unattended? I hope the kid doesn't remember a thing about what happened. But- whose fault is this? The parent's for failing to educate the child, the grandfather for leaving an unattended gun laying around or the 3 year old kid? Either way, this could have been avoided if grandpa had paid attention to what was going on. :fire:

March 24, 2003, 07:55 PM
Does anyone else think that there is something strange about this report? I mean, it is certainly possible for a three-year old to pull the trigger on many firearms, but to pick up a pistol and hit someone in the head? I guess it could be chalked up to sheer bad luck on the grandfather's part. But...were there any other witnesses?

Standing Wolf
March 24, 2003, 08:00 PM
With rights come responsibilities.

March 24, 2003, 08:03 PM
On my way home from the office, I was wondering what kind of memories that kid will be left with.Maybe not too bad since he's so young.

Sad and stupid! :banghead:

March 24, 2003, 08:10 PM
Oh my .... yet again .... a tragedy that should never have been. Indeed, he was crazy to put loaded gun where did ...... his experience shoulda told him otherwise.

This was not an accident ... it was like most all incidents .... NEGLIGENCE ........ the kid could not in truth be in any way regarded as primarily culpable tho .. even age three some training coulda been instilled. I am sure my kids may still remember one of the first things I chided them over with toy guns ... ''NEVER point'' ......

At the very least in this situation, the gun shoulda been on empty chamber if semi .... if revolver, well ....... hard to see a kid managing to squeeze off a D/A shot ..... but - one could analyze all day on this.

It's down to basics eh?? Very sad tho.:(

March 24, 2003, 08:59 PM
I am still trying to do the math. The man was 40. The woman had been his wife for 19 years. He had a grandson who is three years old. There is no mention of the child's parents. Something just doesn't add up. Perhaps it's just me; but, I don't smell a whole lot of personal responsibilty here.

March 24, 2003, 09:14 PM
It couldn't have been anything with a manual safety. Prolly a tupperware gun since they look the most like toys.

None of my guns except my carry gun are loaded when transporting them.

Sad situation though. I hope the kid isn't scarred for life :(

March 25, 2003, 07:10 AM
fprice, it sounds really weird to me too. How on earth does a 3-year-old pull a trigger and hit someone in the head from any more than a couple feet away?

I feel really sorry for the kid, but hopefully he'll understand that it really wasn't his fault and get on with life. If it wasn't luck, maybe he should consider trying out for the olympic shooting team when he gets older. Oops, olympic shooting events will probably be banned by the UN by the time he's old enough.

Carlos Cabeza
March 25, 2003, 03:42 PM
I hurt for the kid and I am saddened by what happened but I fail to see the benefit of posting these types of incidents on the board. There is obviously no one to blame but one's self for negligence and no justification for lack of common sense. Not knowing the circumstances, I bet it was a light weight polymer type gun with a trigger safety. Also, it must have been close range or one lucky shot. Regardless.......tragic.:(

El Tejon
March 25, 2003, 03:55 PM
Carlos, I respectfully disagree. I see Driz's posting of these alleged incidents as continual reminders that weapons are dangerous. If we forget this, even for a few seconds, even without intent, people get hurt.

Incidents such as this are an excellent as a counterweight to the gun rags and GSCs who claim that holsters are unneeded. And "all you need" is to, put the gun 'tween the seats, carry it in the glovebox or put "it in yer pocket."

March 25, 2003, 04:18 PM
There are no victims - only volunters.


March 25, 2003, 04:50 PM
It's important that we see these posts because it's a sobering reminder of what happens when you don't pay attention, even for a second.


Carlos Cabeza
March 25, 2003, 05:38 PM
Tejon, I agree with you on the "constant reminder" point you made but many things are dangerous or deadly and should be regarded as such.When the proper training and necessary safety precautions are dismissed or not followed, people will get hurt or killed. There are redundant safety designs in many products but when used improperly will hurt or kill someone. The "accident" was clearly the fault of the young boy's grandpa, and the responsibility falls squarely on his shoulders. There are many other "possibilities" that could have prevented the man's death but this does not excuse the lack of parental awareness.

March 25, 2003, 06:36 PM
Any follow up report? What gun was used?

March 25, 2003, 07:12 PM
Have to agree El Tejon ...... much as these events sadden (and anger) me ... they are a salutary reminder and do (should) sharpen up all who read them.

There is an ole saying ....... ''familiarity breeds contempt'' ....... and this can apply with firearms. Much as we may think we know the safety factors and try and practice them ... there can come a day when inattention, distraction, haste, whatever - leads us to be just that bit careless.

This I am sure is what can happen such that even experienced, long term shooters can screw up.

I'll take the reminders every time ... thx Driz :)

Kahr carrier
March 25, 2003, 10:35 PM
Thats a pretty sad story . But when you have kids around you have to secure your weapons especially the loaded ones.:(

March 26, 2003, 01:38 AM
I don't get it... how does a 3 year old make a head shot from inside a car without Divine Intervention?? Given the small size of a child's hands, the relatively small size of a human head and a child's motor skills, what are the odds?

Something doesn't sound right to me about this. It's a sad story, but I dunno...


charlie d
March 26, 2003, 05:52 AM
I agree with those who say the story sounds fishy, and even if it's true, it was grandpa's fault. Just lucky the kid didn't shoot himself or anyone else.

As to it being horrible for the kid, I say NO.
He probably didn't even realize what happened except for a big noise and the gun flying out of his hands.
If it's handled correctly, he might wonder how come he doesn't see gramps any more, but they should tell him gramps died, or however else that family explains death to a 3 year old. Make no mention that he did it.

As to harming him for life...
Granted, I'm 60 years old and have forgotten a lot, but even in my youth I know I had no idea of what went on when I was 3 years old.

March 26, 2003, 09:00 AM
Sad. I wonder, how many witnesses were there? What I'm really thinking is...who really shot him?


March 26, 2003, 02:45 PM
It couldn't have been anything with a manual safety. Prolly a tupperware gun since they look the most like toys.
At first I thought you were referring to the most maintenance-free and trouble-free firearm I've ever had but then I realized you must be talking about the plastic 1911:


My Daisy 1911 :D

Carlos Cabeza
March 26, 2003, 04:29 PM
The more I think about this, the more I think "foul play".......

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