Police wait for answers from mom of 4-year-old son who shot her …

One day after a 4-year-old child shot his mother in a pickup truck in Putnam County, police are still waiting to interview the mother.

Capt. Joseph Wells with the Putnam County Sheriff s Office said Jamie Gilt, 31, of Jacksonville remains at UF Health in Gainesville and is medically unable to be interviewed yet, although police have been told she is recovering and in stable condition.

The Putnam County Sheriff s Office is investigating the case in conjunction with the Florida Department of Children and Family Services, Wells said.

An investigation into the mother is ongoing. The case is generating national and international attention because a Facebook page that appears to be Gilt s has multiple posts supporting gun rights, and in a post hours before the shooting she said that her 4-year-old son gets jacked up to target shoot,

The Washington Post, the Guardian newspaper in England as well as the liberal websites Daily Kos, Salon and Mother Jones all spotlighted the case on Wednesday.

Earlier story: Woman tells Putnam County deputy that son, 4, shot her in back while she was driving1

Wells said Gilt could face a first-degree misdemeanor charge if it s determined she left the gun in a location where the child could get easy access to it.

That criminal charge carries penalties of up to one year in jail, one year of probation and a fine of up to $1,000.

The gun was registered to Gilt and she had a legal permit to carry it, so the only question was whether she was negligent in where she left the firearm, Wells said.

After the investigation is completed it will be up to the office of 7th Circuit State Attorney R.J.

Larizza to determine whether criminal charges will be brought. Larizza s office declined comment on any charges, saying it is premature to speculate at this point.

Wells said previous gun cases involving children he s been involved with have varied, but sometimes prosecutors decide not to seek criminal charges under the theory that the parents have already suffered enough.

Former Jacksonville State Attorney Harry Shorstein said it s important to use the laws to enforce gun safety, but in this case Gilt probably shouldn t face any charges.

If he were the prosecutor, and the child had shot someone else, he d consider filing charges against the mother.

It s very important to make it clear that safety is important with guns, Shorstein said.

But since the mother is the one who was shot, she s probably suffered enough, Shorstein said.

You have to put great weight on the fact that the person who is criminally liable is the one who was shot, Shorstein said. I d be very reluctant to prosecute in this situation.

Shorstein also said the child shouldn t face any punishment, saying no one that age should ever be prosecuted, even as a juvenile.

Wells said the child is not under investigation, and will not face any charges.

Police released the child into the custody of his grandmother and they believe the child is now back in Jacksonville with his father, Wells said.

The gunshot went through Gilt s back and out the other side. When police arrived, Gilt told them her 4-year-old child accidentally fired the shot while sitting in the back seat.

A .45 caliber handgun was found on the floor in the back of the vehicle and there didn t appear to be any bullet entry points on the exterior of the truck so Wells said the shot was most likely fired from inside. The mother and her son were the only people in the vehicle.

The truck, which had a horse trailer attached to the back, was parked partially in the travel lane of Florida 20 at Rowland Avenue, Wells said.

Family members later told authorities the two were on their way to pick up a horse from the woman s sister when the shooting happened.

Wells said Gilt and her son were less than a mile from her sister s home where they were going to pick up the horse when she was shot.

There was a booster seat in the back, but the child was not strapped in when police arrived.

He said investigators are trying to determine whether the child was fastened to the booster seat at the time of the shooting.

A public Facebook account for a woman named Jamie Gilt who lives in Jacksonville and is from Palatka features various pictures of horses and pro-gun messages. Another Facebook page is called Jamie Gilt for Gun Sense.

One post, shared on the Jamie Gilt page Sunday, shows an image of two burglars breaking into a home with a message below saying guns are not the answer, but calling 911 is. In disagreement, Gilt shared the photo and commented that the criminals might change their plans if they knew they were going to get killed.

The post included other comments in a discussion that defended the right to carry guns.

Thanks.

All of ours know how to shoot too.

Even my 4-year-old gets jacked up to target shoot the .22, Gilt responded Monday evening on Facebook after someone commented on the post.

The Times-Union reached out to several gun stores and shooting ranges on Wednesday and asked for their thoughts on child safety around guns.

All declined to comment or did not return messages.

The National Rifle Association also did not respond to requests for comment.

For more information check back with Jacksonville.com or pick up Thursday s edition of the Florida Times-Union.

Larry Hannan: (904) 359-4470

References

  1. ^ Woman tells Putnam County deputy that son, 4, shot her in back while she was driving (jacksonville.com)

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