A Bartholomew County man was accidentally killed by his young son, according to authorities.
Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department Spokesperson Judy Jackson says that at 9:17 p.m. on Sunday, deputies responded to a shooting in the 200 block of Clinton Street in Hartsville. On arrival, deputies reported finding 62-year-old James E. Lonaker with a gunshot wound to his upper body.
Investigators say that evidence at the scene indicates that Lonaker’s six-year-old son accidentally shot his father when he picked up an unsecured 38-caliber revolver and fired a shot that struck Lonaker. They say that Lonaker was apparently sitting at his desk and did not see the child pick up the handgun, which belonged to Lonaker.
Jackson says that Lonaker was being flown to Methodist Hospital when he died en route. She adds that Lonaker’s wife and one-year old child were also in the house at the time of the shooting. Authorities say that neither were injured.
Sheriff Matt Myers says this was a tragic accident. He is using this opportunity to remind all Bartholomew County residents to make certain that firearms in their homes are not accessible to anyone, especially children.
“Many firearms accidents in the home can be prevented simply by making sure that firearms are kept unloaded and safely stored, with ammunition secured in a separate location,” said Sheriff Myers. He continued, “Please keep your guns in a secure location out of reach of children”. Myers added, “This is a tragedy that is told and retold all across the country and a tragedy that is easily avoided. I urge every responsible gun owner and parent to take this tragedy to heart.”
Jackson says this incident remains under investigation. She adds that it is being led by This is being investigated by Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Detective Chad Swank and Lt. Greg Duke. The Sheriff’s Department also said that Child Protective Services were notified.