Florida boy, 3, accidentally shoots himself in foot with school police officer mother’s gun

The boy’s mother has since been relieved of her duties as a Miami-Dade County Public Schools officer

Dan Gooding
Tuesday 30 April 2024 22:47 BST
Stephanie Jerez, a school police officer in Homestead, is accused of child neglect with great bodily harm
Stephanie Jerez, a school police officer in Homestead, is accused of child neglect with great bodily harm (Miami-Dade Corrections/WSVN)

A three-year-old boy accidentally shot himself in the foot after grabbing his police officer mother’s gun while she was cooking, according to authorities.

The incident unfolded on Sunday afternoon at the family home in Homestead, around 40 miles south of Miami.

According to arrest documents, obtained by The Independent, Miami-Dade School Police Officer Stephanie Jerez’s son had found the firearm inside the home and accidentally shot himself in the foot.

Officers arrived on the scene to find a “large amount of blood” on the kitchen countertop and the little boy injured.

The child was flown to a hospital in nearby Kendall for treatment.

He was later listed in a stable condition, Homestead Police Department told The Independent on Tuesday.

Officer Jerez, 25, was arrested and charged with child neglect with great bodily harm.

According to the arrest documents, the firearm used by the child was Officer Jerez’s personal gun, not her service-issued gun.

The officer, who works for the Miami-Dade County Public Schools district, was later relieved of her duties pending the outcome of the investigation, NBS South Florida reported.

Neighbours told local news outlet WSVN that they heard the gunshot and saw first responders arrive on the scene.

“As a mom, it breaks my heart that she has to go through this as well,” one neighbour told the outlet. “It’s her child. I just saw her playing with him before outside. It’s scary because, you know, it should be locked.”

Records showed Ms Jerez appeared in court briefly on Monday, with her bond set at $5,000.

An arraignment hearing has now been set for May 28. While Ms Jerez is allowed to remain with her son until then, she is banned from having firearms in the home, CBS News reported.

“The Homestead Police Department takes cases involving child endangerment very seriously, and we are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all children in our community,” the department said in a statement released to NBC News.

“The Homestead Police Department urges all gun owners to securely store firearms and to educate themselves and their families about gun safety.”

Research by Everytown for Gun Safety in 2022 found that 4.6 million children in the US are living in homes with “at least one unlocked and loaded” firearm.

Florida law states that guns should be stored in a locked box or container, be kept in a secure location or be secured with a trigger lock if there is the likelihood that a child aged under 16 could access it. However, if the firearm is within close proximity to the owner so that they might retrieve and use it with ease, then this requirement does not apply. There are also no “safe storage” laws which require unattended firearms to be stored in a certain way.

In this particular case, Homestead PD said there was no holster or secure case present in the area at the time when the gun went off.

The Independent contacted Homestead PD and the school district for further comment.

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