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Parents Of Shot 4-Year-Old Charged With Neglect

Reported: Apr. 7, 2014 10:28 PM EDT
Updated: Apr. 8, 2014 10:58 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Kera Mashek) -- The parents of a small child who deputies said was shot by her brother in Kanawha County face criminal charges.

Deputies said a 5-year-old boy accidentally shot his 4-year-old little sister at their family's home in Cross Lanes Monday morning. The little girl was shot in the arm, but is expected to make a full recovery. On Monday afternoon, the parents were arrested and charged with child neglect resulting in injury.

Tabitha Bowen and John Seymour are in a jail cell, thinking about how they are accused of letting their 5-year-old son get his hands on a gun and hurt his sister with it. Court records said the father, John Seymour, told a friend Sunday night he would keep the gun for the friend and put it in his bedroom. He and his girlfriend then went to sleep in the leaving room, but deputies said it didn't take long for two of their kids to find that gun, and for the 5-year-old to fire it.

Eyewitness News asked Bowen and Seymour, "Why did your kids have access to a loaded handgun?"

The couple did not respond.

Eyewitness News then asked, "Is there anything you want to say about what happened with your kids today?"

Tabitha Bowen and her boyfriend, Seymour, might not be talking about what happened at their home Monday morning when their 5-year-old son allegedly shot his 4-year-old sister, but people living in the area certainly are. Joyce Waldron has lived in her Cross Lanes neighborhood for nearly 50 years and said recently, it's really gone down hill. Crime is now common, but Waldron said to hear of a small child being shot "that breaks my heart. It's wrong. It's really wrong."

Bowen and Seymour were arrested and charged with child neglect. With a $100,000 cash-only bond, it's likely they won't be getting out of jail to see any of their kids, and the judge actually ordered they have no contact with the 4 and 5-year-old involved in the shooting.

Parents said this situation is yet another wake-up call about gun safety.

"Anybody should have their guns locked up in a safe, plus up and out of reach from where a child can get it even if it is in a safe," parent Sabona Maynard said.

And police said there is another important step.

"They should be unloaded first of all and the ammo placed aside from the guns themselves, certainly not loaded in a chamber ready to go off and hurt someone who is very innocent," said Capt. Sean Crosier with the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office.

Bowen and Seymour have a third child who wasn't part of the shooting. Child Protective Services is now involved.

When police searched the couple's home, they said, they also found drug paraphernalia. But so far no drug-related charges have been filed.



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