In Opal, Virginia, a 26-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman were arrested after being found guilty of child neglect. Isaiah Marshall Davis reportedly left a 2-year-old, a 4-year-old and a third toddler in a car by themselves as he and Destinie Rochelle Beach, the children’s mother, entered Quarles Truck Stop. The 2-year-old, who was a boy, was able to access a gun and shot the 4-year-old, who was a girl. The wound was in the girl’s upper body The situation was worsened by the fact that the adults did not look for medical treatment in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. Instead, according to a clerk at the truck stop, the couple brought the bloodied child in and claimed she had been bitten by a dog. The clerk later witnessed Beach taking the girl to a bathroom with peroxide and bandages. However, they left the scene before authorities could arrive. Eventually, authorities received a call asking for medical attention from a motel in Colonial Beach, Virginia, about 65 miles away from where the accident occurred; this was where police found the child. The child was later treated and released from the local hospital’s trauma center. The other two children were unharmed from the incident.
Davis in particular was charged with three counts of abuse and neglect of children, as well as reckless handling of a firearm and allowing access to a firearm by children. As to the latter charge, it should be noted that leaving any firearm unsecured so that it is accessible by a child 14 years of age or younger is illegal in the state of Virginia. The crimes were made worse by the fact that Davis is a convicted felon, which means that according to Virginia law he was not allowed to own a firearm. Davis is currently waiting for a trial at Northern Neck Regional Jail. Beach turned herself in later, and was charged with abuse and neglect of children, as well as possession/transport of a firearm by a non-violent felon.
In the press release announcing Davis’ arrest, the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office expressed a strong encouragement to the local community to keep their firearms safe at home and in transport. In fact, the Sheriff’s Office has offered to provide cable locks if requested by local residents via their administrative phone line. Other organizations that support child gun safety recommend keeping firearms unloaded and stored in a proper storage case. Gun locking devices are also available, and some gun owners go as far as to disassemble firearms and keep the parts in separate locations during transport.