A man faces weapons-related misdemeanor charges in the death of a 5-year-old Los Angeles boy after the child shot himself last year with an unsecured gun, authorities said Thursday.
Jaylin Burdette is charged with criminal storage of a firearm, unlawful storage of a firearm and carrying a loaded firearm in a public place. He faces up to a year in jail and $1,000 in fines.
The city attorney’s office can only prosecute misdemeanor cases. The district attorney’s office handles felonies; city attorney spokesman Rob Wilcox said the DA’s office had reviewed and rejected the case.
“In Los Angeles, locking up guns is the law because it saves lives and prevents unthinkable tragedies like the one we allege here,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said Thursday in a statement. “With kids home from school, safely storing firearms has never been more important.”
Feuer called the incident “an avoidable tragedy” during a news conference.
Prosecutors allege that Burdette, a licensed security guard, had celebrated his 26th birthday on Nov. 13 at his mother’s home in Leimert Park in South Los Angeles. His mother was the 5-year-old boy’s legal guardian and foster mother at the time. The boy’s name has not been released.
Burdette allegedly found the loaded gun in an alley behind his mother’s house and put it in a document container in the boy’s bedroom.
The boy was playing with the gun on Nov. 20 and fatally shot himself. The type of weapon was not specified.
It was not immediately clear if Burdette had an attorney who could speak on his behalf. The district attorney’s office did not immediately comment.
STEFANIE DAZIO, Associated Press