A reality TV series that follows cops on patrol showed footage of a toddler brandishing a loaded gun, leading to the arrest of the boy’s father as viewers across the country watched.
The footage was broadcast on “On Patrol: Live,” which followed the Beech Grove, Indiana, Police Department on Saturday, January 14.
An officer was dispatched to the apartment complex after a neighbor reported seeing a boy in a diaper playing with a pistol in the hallway.
“He’s playing with what he thinks is a toy, and it couldn’t be further from the truth,” Beech Grove assistant boss Robert Mercuri later told WXIN.
Police interaction with the boy’s father was captured live. He told officers he did not own a gun and said if there was one in the house it was his cousin’s.
Officers searched the home for the gun and later found it on a desk in a living room. An officer said it was a Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol.
REELZ, which airs “On Patrol: Live,” received security camera footage of the toddler with the gun. It shows the boy holding it up in the air and pointing it at himself, eventually pulling the trigger.
The gun was loaded, but a bullet was not in the chamber. Mercuri told WTTV that the magazine contains 15 rounds.
“He pointed it at me and said, ‘Look what I have. Ha ha,” said a neighbor during footage, which was broadcast live on REELZ.
The father was led out of the apartment in handcuffs. He was charged with neglecting loved ones.
In a statement to WISH, Beech Grove Mayor Dennis Buckley said he was “shamed of what happened”.
“I appreciate the quick action taken by the Beech Grove Police Department to secure the small child and the weapon in question,” Buckley said. “I am asking that the Marion County Attorney’s Office work diligently to secure indictments and maximum criminal convictions for those responsible. Society should not accept less.”
The child is now with his mother, WTTV reported. The father will appear in court on Tuesday 17 January.
Beech Grove is a southeastern suburb of Indianapolis.