A man was arrested Saturday after his toddler was caught on apartment building surveillance footage playing with a loaded gun.
In the disturbing video, the young boy was seen unsupervised, wandering the halls in a diaper while waving and pointing the firearm in an apartment complex in Beech Grove, Indiana.
The father, identified as 45-year-old Shane Osborne, faces an initial Level 6 felony charge for neglect of a dependent, a Beech Grove police spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.
The footage, as well as Osborne's arrest, was aired Saturday on On Patrol: Live, a reality television show that follows on-duty police officers across the country.
Police responded to the apartment after neighbors reported seeing the boy holding a gun, walking inside the building's common hallway. Osborne denied he had a gun in the residence, according to police. He told them he was ill and had been sleeping, and he said he did not know his son had been outside his apartment unit.
As the officers were exiting the building, neighbors insisted to them that they were certain of what they'd seen. "That baby had a gun ... He pointed at me and said, 'Look what I got, ha ha,'" a woman living in the building told officers in the video.
Another neighbor stopped the officers just before they left, telling them she had captured surveillance footage of the incident. After she showed it to them on her phone, the officers returned to the apartment, where they searched for and found the weapon.
Zach Horgan, a sergeant with the Beech Grove Police Department, said there hadn't been a bullet in the gun's chamber, but the magazine was full of ammo. "This kid could've hurt himself, hurt his dad, or hurt a lot of other people, because this gun was loaded," he said.
Osborne allegedly told police the gun belonged to his cousin, who'd left it there, a claim officers said they were skeptical about. He'd previously been convicted of felony theft and forgery, he told police, which would make it illegal for him to possess a gun under federal law.
The boy was returned to his mother, whom he lives with, and then Osborne was taken into custody. He is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday afternoon. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.
In a statement to Fox 59, Beech Grove mayor Dennis B. Buckley said he was "mortified [about] what took place" and is "so thankful that no one was hurt, especially the young child."
"I appreciate the quick action taken by the Beech Grove Police Department to secure the small child and the gun in question," Buckley said. "I ask that the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office work tirelessly to secure charges and a conviction against the responsible parties, with maximum penalties. Society shouldn’t accept anything less."
The incident came just over a week after a 6-year-old in Virginia shot his first grade teacher, leaving her with life-threatening injuries. The gun belonged to the child's mother, police said.
Guns are the leading cause of death in children, according to CDC data. In 2022, there were at least 301 unintentional shootings by children in the US, according to gun control advocacy group Everytown.
The American Public Health Association says gun violence in the US is a public health crisis. It is a leading cause of premature death in the country, responsible for more than 38,000 deaths annually. As of Jan. 16, at least 786 people have already died from gun violence this year, and another 1,056 have died by suicide, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive. In 2022, more than 20,000 people died from gun violence, with over 24,000 additional gun deaths by suicide.