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4-year-old shot himself with gun left in a doll house, records say

Muncie Child Shot.PNG
Posted at 2:45 PM, Nov 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-16 12:30:57-05

MUNCIE — Authorities say a 4-year-old boy shot himself with a loaded gun that his mother's boyfriend left in a doll house.

The boy found the 9-mm handgun and shot himself shortly after noon Monday at a home in the 1500 block of South Burlington Drive in Muncie, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Joseph P. M. Jackson, 19 — the boyfriend of the child's mother Alycia J. Smith, 22 — told police the couple had been living in the home with her son and 2-year-old daughter for about a month.

According to the affidavit, Jackson told police "that he regularly leaves the gun sitting in the doll house."

The boy used a desk chair to climb onto a table and reach into the doll house to grab the unattended gun, according to documents.

"Jackson owns a retention holster for the firearm but always places it inside the doll house without it being secured in the holster," the affidavit read.

Jackson was downstairs when he heard the gunshot. Smith was in the upstairs bedroom when she told detectives she turned and saw her son with the gun in his hands, according to the affidavit.

"Smith said (her son) fired a gun and collapsed on the floor," Muncie Police Department Officer Mariah Copeland wrote in the affidavit. "Smith stated Jackson came upstairs picking up (her son) and carrying (her son) downstairs."

Smith's daughter was also in the room when the boyfriend the shot. Smith called 911 while someone performed CPR on the boy until medics arrived.

The boy died at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital.

Both Jackson and Smith face charges of neglect of a dependent resulting in death and neglect of a dependent. The second charge is related to a second child, a 2-year-old girl, who was inside the home at the time.

Both were held Tuesday in the Delaware County Jail with bonds set at $55,000, records show.

"During her interview, Smith admitted that she was aware Jackson had a gun and that he had left a gun sitting in the dollhouse 'at least 10 times,'" Copeland wrote in the affidavit. "This resulted in several previous arguments."

Police said there was a safe place in this home for this gun.

"Investigators also located a large gun safe on the first floor of the residence that could’ve been used to safely store the firearm," Copeland wrote.

Both Smith and Jackson are scheduled to appear for an initial hearing Monday at Delaware Circuit Court.

Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at or on Twitter: @vicryc.