PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A man was arrested after a 3-year-old boy fatally shot himself in the head, according to an affidavit.
On Saturday, the mother of the 3-year-old and her boyfriend, Zachary Johnson, checked into a hotel on U.S. Highway 19 in Holiday just before 9 p.m.
The woman told deputies that Johnson placed a gun on the TV stand and left to get some ice. He returned shortly after and went to the bathroom.
The woman said she believed her son was playing with some of his toys while she unpacked. She said she heard a gunshot and noticed her son was lying on the floor near the bathroom door with a gun near him.
The woman said she grabbed her son, exited the room and waited outside for first responders.
According to the report, Johnson told deputies that he placed the gun on the TV stand for “safety in case someone attacks them in their hotel room.”
He also said he heard the gunshot while he was in the bathroom.
Johnson told Pasco deputies that he is a convicted felon and on felony probation. He was arrested for violation of probation and felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
The report said video surveillance showed the events leading up to the shooting, including footage of the mother screaming for help.
Deputies said an unknown person from the first floor asked the woman what happened. The woman allegedly said, “My son shot himself with my boyfriend’s gun!”
First responders arrived shortly after and the boy was taken to a hospital, where he died.
The Medical Examiner’s office reported that the boy suffered a single gunshot wound to his head.
Investigators said Johnson was found to have left a loaded firearm within reach of the 3-year-old. They said the boy grabbed the gun and accidentally fired one shot, killing himself.
Johnson was arrested while at the Pasco County Detention Center for culpable negligence under the case, the report said.