TOWN OF BENNINGTON, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Wyoming County man has been charged after a 3-year-old was shot in the Town of Bennington.
The Wyoming County Sheriff’s office says the boy was struck in the chest and shoulder area at a home in the Town of Bennington. The incident happened on the morning of December 30, the Sheriff’s office said.
According to authorities, the boy was shot after handling the loaded gun himself. The shooting was ruled accidental.
After the incident, the boy underwent surgery at Oishei Children’s Hospital.
Investigators say the gun that was used is registered to his father, 42-year-old Matthew Howell.
On Friday afternoon, the Sheriff’s office announced that Howell was charged with endangering the welfare of a child.
Sheriff Gregory Rudolph said “The charge is the culmination of an investigation by the Sheriff’s Office with collaboration from the Child Protective Services Unit at the Wyoming County Department of Social Services and involvement of District Attorney Donald O’Geen. Although this was a terrible accident it was completely preventable. The loaded handgun was left unattended for minutes in the living room, but it was readily accessible to the child which was the most significant factor in determining the charge. No one wins in a case like this; it is heart wrenching to everyone involved. However, the father and mother provided immediate care, the Bennington Ambulance and Monroe Ambulance responded in minutes to provide advanced care and a highly trained staff at Oishei’s Children’s Hospital continued the lifesaving efforts, all of which prevented the ultimate tragedy. The child is still hospitalized, but doing well and we are all ultimately thankful and thrilled with that outcome.”
Howell is due back in court on January 29.