(NewsNation) — Jaw-dropping surveillance video out of Beech Grove, Indiana, shows a toddler wielding a loaded gun. The child’s father has been arrested for felony child neglect.
The video first aired live on the show “On Patrol: Live” hosted by Dan Abrams on Friday and Saturday nights on the Reelz network.
“On Patrol: Live” cameras followed Beech Grove police to an apartment complex Friday night. Neighbors reported a diaper-clad toddler pointing a handgun at them.
“My son opened the door and the little boy upstairs was standing there with a firearm. I was like, ‘Shut the door, he’s got a gun,’” one woman said.
Police went to a second-floor apartment and encountered the child’s father, Shane Osborne, who says he did not know anything about his son playing with a gun and claimed he does not even own a gun himself.
Officers urged Osborne, 45, to watch over his son and started to file out of the complex. That’s when another neighbor approached police and gave them surveillance footage from a prior incident: The same little boy playing with a Smith and Wesson nine-millimeter handgun in a hallway near a stairwell of the apartment building.
“The neighbors, of course, were right. All of us on the ‘On Patrol: Live’ desk were just stunned watching that video as it came in,” Abrams said.
Having just watched the video, officers re-entered the apartment to start looking for the gun. Following a brief search, the toddler appeared to lead the officers to a roll top desk. Once the desk was opened, officers reported finding a handgun with 15 rounds in the magazine and no rounds chambered. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
Officers arrested the father for felony child neglect. The little boy was taken to his mother’s home.
So, what’s next in the case?
Aaron Freeman, former deputy prosecutor in Marion County, Indiana, told NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” that neglect of a dependent is a level six felony. That gives a sentence range of anywhere between six months and two and a half years if the father is found guilty.
“Thank God this little boy is OK, first and foremost. Dad’s got some real criminal liability here,” Freeman said.
He added: “It could’ve been worse. God forbid this toddler was injured or worse. Obviously then the crime gets worse, the punishment gets worse.”
According to Freeman, prosecutors will have to show that the father had some custodial reason or legal obligation to be watching the child and then that the child accessed a gun.
“In Indiana, neglect of a dependent is a situation that endangers the life and health and safety of a child. Clearly you have that here. Again, thank God that it didn’t get worse,” Freeman said.
He said the state will have to prove that the child’s parent knowingly or intentionally endangered the child’s life.
Osborne insisted the gun wasn’t his and told police it belonged to a cousin who sometime left the gun there. He says he was not certain if the gun was there at the time or that his son knew of the weapon.
“Whether he owned a gun, didn’t own a gun, it was his, it wasn’t his, in any measure, this young toddler has no business having access to a gun. That’s on dad. If dad has a defense, he’s going to need a good lawyer to prove it,” Freeman said.
“No child should be put in this situation,” he added.
Freeman said more information about the case is expected to come out at Osborne’s initial hearing on Thursday. He assumes Osborne will also face a Child In Need of Services (CHINS) proceeding. He’s almost certain the state’s child services department will become involved in the case if they are not already.