Durham boy killed while playing with loaded gun

Apr. 29, 2014 @ 07:58 PM

Christian Pittman played with a loaded gun in his room on Macon Street on Monday night, and the weapon went off.

“He was playing with the gun,” a caller told 911 about 9:40 p.m. “He shot himself, but he didn’t know it was loaded.”

The caller, who sounded like a child in the recording, said the 9-year-old boy was not waking up.

“I don’t know if he’s dead,” the caller said. “He’s bleeding really bad.”

Pittman, a student at Glenn Elementary School in Durham, died of his injuries in the house at 412 Macon St. Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez Sr. said Pittman and another boy were playing with the gun when it fired.

It’s not clear yet who owned the weapon, where it was stored or why it was kept loaded within reach of children.

No charges had been filed late Tuesday.

“The incident on Macon Street not only underscores the importance of responsible gun ownership, but painfully demonstrates the irreversible adverse effects when practical gun safety measures are not put into practice,” Lopez said.

He noted that gun locks are available for free from Durham County Gun Safety Team at the Durham County Health Department.

“This is another loss of life, part of our future gone, because an adult wasn’t being responsible with a firearm,” Lopez said. “I’m not talking about gun control. I’m just talking about responsible gun ownership.”

Cornelius Redfearn, principal at Glenn Elementary, issued a statement Tuesday expressing grief about Pittman’s death.

“All of us at Glenn Elementary are saddened to learn of the loss of one of our students in this tragic accident,” Redfearn said. “Christian and his family are in our thoughts and prayers.”

Durham Public Schools counselors are available to students and staff to help cope with what happened, he said.

In February, within the same block of Macon Street, a 5-month-old girl was hurt when a man fired a gun during a domestic disturbance. Arin Tavon Futrell, 21, was charged with felony negligent child abuse in that incident.

Lopez encouraged residents to battle gun violence through Project Safe Neighborhoods by calling 919-560-4438, ext. 29230.

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