The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting of a 2-year-old girl by a 3-year-old boy that occurred just before midnight on Friday night in Lakeland.
The young victim was shot one-time in her upper left chest, and is currently in critical but stable condition at Lakeland Regional Health. She suffered severe injuries to her internal organs.
“It can’t be stressed enough, if you have firearms in your home, keep them away from children. A beautiful little girl is fighting for her life right now because another child who didn’t know any better was able to get his hands on a loaded gun,” Sheriff Grady Judd said.
At about 12:15 AM on Saturday, Lakeland Police responded to a two-vehicle crash at Olive Street and Oregon Avenue in Lakeland. One of the vehicles involved was on the way to the hospital with the 2-year-old gunshot victim. A Good Samaritan in the area took the child and 24-year-old Chad Berrien to the hospital.
The girl’s mother responded to the hospital and said that the two children were supposed to be at her home, which is in the area of South Wabash Avenue and Ariana Street in Lakeland.
Two witnesses, 23-year-old Kevonte’ Wilson and 23-year-old Rodderick Haynes told detectives that they were watching a basketball game on TV when the 3-year-old child found a handgun and pointed it at the 2-year-old girl and shot her with it.
Wilson and Haynes said that they all got into a car to rush the girl to the hospital but got into a crash on the way. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the handgun belonged to Wilson. Due to the shooting occurring in an unincorporated area of Lakeland, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office assumed the investigation. Lakeland PD continues to investigate the crash.
Chad Berrien was arrested on four outstanding warrants (Failure to Appear for Battery, Failure to Appear for Resisting w/o Violence, Failure to Appear for DWLSR, and Failure to Appear for Driving on Revoked/Suspended License).
Kevonte’ Wilson was also arrested for Carrying a Concealed Firearm (F3) and Failure to Safely Store a Firearm (M2). His prior criminal history includes charges of Grand Theft, Written Threats to Kill, Defrauding an Innkeeper, and Driving with No Valid License.