MOUNT VERNON — A team of detectives is beginning its investigation this week into the accidental shooting which claimed the life of 3-year-old Lucas Heagren on May 28. Knox County Sheriff David Barber reported Wednesday that the investigation had not begun yet so that the family could be allowed to work on the funeral arrangements for Lucas.
Barber confirmed that the gun used was a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun, but was unsure of the specific model. This was found lying on a couch in the living room following the shooting. A second handgun, a .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun, was found on a dresser in the master bedroom as well.
“We haven’t interviewed the parents yet, and one of the big questions for the detectives of the parents will be ‘Is that .45 normally kept on top of the dresser?’” Kaitlin Campbell, who placed the 9-1-1 call, had reported that “the gun was out of the child’s reach.”
“If you have firearms in the same house where you have children, you need to exercise common sense,”Knox County Sheriff David Barber
Barber was unsure if the handgun had a safety mechanism on it since detectives reportedly took pictures and kept the gun for evidence. He had not been able to handle the gun to be able to know the ease a 3-year-old child would have in firing the gun.
Firearms are not required to be registered in the state of Ohio, said Barber. When a gun is purchased by an individual, paperwork is filled out for background check purposes only. The sheriff’s office can then use the identification of a firearm to verify ow nership and to determine if it had been stolen or was used in a crime.
“If you have firearms in the same house where you have children, you need to exercise common sense,” is the lesson Barber hopes people learn from this incident. “This would mean keeping the weapon out of the reach of children, keeping the weapons and the ammunition separate, keeping the weapons unloaded and utilizing the safety devices that keep them locked,” he said.
Barber expects meetings with the family to begin this week. Once the investigation is completed, it will be submitted to the office of Knox County Prosecutor John Thatcher for review to determine if any charges are going to be pursued.