Panhandle man charged after toddler son shot dead

Published On: Mar 23 2014 08:28:35 AM EDT   Updated On: Mar 23 2014 04:15:20 PM EDT

A Florida Panhandle man has been charged with negligence in the death of his toddler son, the Escambia County Sheriff's Office said.

Twenty-eight-year-old Sheldon Cleavon Salter was arrested Friday, The Pensacola News Journal reports.

"If a weapon is left within easy reach or access of a child and it results in the injury or death of a person, we take those situations very seriously," Assistant State Attorney Greg Marcille said.

Salter told deputies he was with his 2-year-old son and the child's mother watching television at home on March 1, the day of the shooting.

As the parents sat on the couch, they reportedly asked the child to get a fresh diaper from the bedroom. When the child entered the bedroom, authorities say he found Salter's loaded Glock pistol between a mattress and box spring.

Investigators say Salter heard a gunshot as he went to check in on him. He found the child lying on the bed with a gunshot wound to his head. Then gun was on the floor near an open closet.

Deputies responding to the scene found a bag of marijuana on the couch and a digital scale with cocaine reside in the refrigerator, according to an arrest report.

Salter was charged with one count of culpable negligence for leaving the firearm in a place where it was capable of inflicting the injury that resulted in his son's death, the sheriff's office said in a news release. He was also charged with one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Salter has been released on $17,500 bond.


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