Deonca Kennedy (courtesy nola.com)

Toddler killed after grandmother’s gun goes off in bed, New Orleans police say, the headline at nola.com proclaims, removing responsibility from either the grandma or the child who pulled the trigger. Call me harsh, but that ain’t right. It misses an important, perhaps even life-saving teachable moment on firearms safety. Like this: “A 3-year-old boy was fatally shot Wednesday morning (Jan. 20) while he was in bed sleeping with his grandmother [Deonca Kennedy, above], New Orleans police said. Authorities said he was shot by a gun under the pillow.” And again, like this . . .

According to preliminary information from the New Orleans Police Department, the shooting happened shortly after 2 a.m. in the 5600 block of Red Maple Drive in the Michoud area. The 45-year-old grandmother, who works as a security guard, told police she was sleeping in bed with her grandson when her semi-automatic gun, which was under the pillow, fired.

Sleeping with a gun under your pillow is a pretty stupid idea even when you’re not sharing your bed with a toddler. Something a “security professional” should know, but didn’t. Tragedy resulting, when the child in question violated at least two of the four safety rules. Apparently, this simple common sense conclusion is beyond the ken of the NOPD.

NOPD Chief Michael Harrison told our news partners at WVUE Fox 8 that its homicide and child abuse units were part of the investigation. He did not say what caused the gun to fire.

I think it’s safe to say the gun fired when the toddler pulled the trigger. A fact nola.com and the NOPD refuse to confront, to the detriment of its readers’ education.

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77 Responses to New Orleans Grandma Stores Gun Under Pillow, Tragedy Results

  1. Something as simple and easy as keeping it in a holster, could of prevented that kid from being a gun violence statistic.

  2. Hmm… You know, there are times when condition 3 is best. Holsterless pocket carry. Mexican carry. Under pillow carry.

  3. Insane. I don’t have kids, just dogs. Still, I’d never sleep with a firearm in my bed, at least not on purpose. It’s within reach but not in my bed.
    That’s just stupid.

    • +1

      Having said that, keep in mind that some people just don’t have the cash to implement any significant fortifications to their home or apartment. The cost to purchase and install a nice security door (including lock set) could easily be well over $1,000. Given that most homes have two doors, now you are looking at something like $2,000 to $3,000 just for security doors and locks. And I haven’t even touched on windows.

      I guess if you are seriously strapped for cash, you could install a solid interior door to your bedroom with two deadbolt locks (one low and one high) and a reinforced frame. That would turn your bedroom into a “safe room” (sort of) and should provide you with enough time to access a secured firearm in most instances. And you could probably do that for about $300, especially if you can install it yourself. In the worst case, you could simply purchase a sheet of 3/4 inch plywood for about $40 and make your own door. It would be ugly as all sin but it would be cheap and secure.

  4. Here’s an idea:
    How’s ’bout we get rid of Form 4473 and have an I.Q. test instead. Gotta score over 60 or… no gun for you!

    If it saves just one child’s life… right?

  5. from the NOLA story:

    “Kennedy’s only other arrest was in January 2005, court records show. She was booked on charges of public intimidation and solicitation for murder. Records say about six months later, former Orleans Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan’s office refused to prosecute the charges.”

    This is a terrible tragedy. And I would love to know the backstory on her ’05 arrest…

    • She was booked on charges of public intimidation and solicitation for murder.

      Holy cow. That’s a far cry from a DUI or drunk-and-disorderly!

  6. There is smarts and lack of them. This is clearly a lack of them.
    My “bed” gun is a double action with the safety on.
    I have no kids nor young children in the family. Let alone a child visiting.
    If so, one should put the gun away out of reach of a child at all times.
    That said don’t stick your hands between the cushions of my couch!!! It too might just go bang.
    Another DA gun resides there 24/7. Plus the one on my hip 20/24/7.
    Paranoid maybe?? I think not.

  7. I sleep with my hand under my pillow, like a lot of people, and I use a bedframe holster so I don’t do something stupid in my sleep.

    • It isn’t passive construction. “The gun went off” (and variants) have a subject (gun) that performs the action (went off). Passive construction is where the subject is acted upon, not where it does the acting.

      RF correctly notes there are a lot of problems with these sorts of sentences, but passive construction is not among them.

  8. I have a bed “pedestal”, a wood frame with drawers, no box spring. It doesn’t allow the mattress to touch the back wall. We stuff pillows between the mattress and the wall for support of our sleeping pillows. I stash my firearm between the mattress and the pillow back there. Condition 3, in a holster with the muzzle pointing downward. There if I need it, but can’t be discharged, even accidentally. Now that I’ve got a baby on the way I’m gonna need to reconsider that placement though…

  9. This is why when my cubs was young my house gun was an unchambered pump gun. My handguns were normally locked in a tool box.

    • Yeppers, unchambered pump on a high closet shelf.

      By the time kids are old enough to reach the top shelf, release the action, and then rack the action, they’re old enough to be taught firearms safety.

      And, the 12 or 20ga pump with buckshot will ruin any BG’s evening. Hell, even the .410 would be a fine HD shotgun, says me.

    • Unchambered semi auto here. My four year old also knows that rule about touching guns without an adult and how much trouble it’ll get him in.

  10. They didn’t plan on educating the readers. They just grabbed a story and told it in a way that attracts people’s attention, like, yknow, “look, gun violence again! A kid was shot again!”

  11. I was thinking about leaving a gun in the open near the bed… I have a biometric pistol safe, but ive had to hit open maybe five times on odd occasions so it doesnt make me feel too secure. Have toddlers around too (hence the hand safe).

    Recently considering if unchambered or even magazine out would be responsible at night. The situation in which a four year old who knows never to touch guns grabs it without waking me, locks a magazine in, racks the slide, and pulls the trigger seems to me completely fantasy (especially since I’ve seen grown women have trouble racking the slide on certain guns). So in my head I feel that its fine, but STILL I think it’s too risky.

    Thoughts/relevant experiences anyone?

    • Sounds secure to me, big question is further action, later. Little buggers are 15 before you know it, any such plan needs revisiting every year or less.

  12. The gun fired all by itself. They tend to do that when somebody wakes them from a deep sleep. Those cranky bastards.

  13. Responsibility? In a 3 year old? THAT ain’t right. Very odd to combine that in a sentence with grandma. Tragic. Glad something similar didn’t happen at MY house when my teetering on Alzheimers mother-in-law had a 38 she kept hidden. Nothing happened but she watched my younguns’ often(this was in the ’90’s).

  14. I’m not so good at math, but isn’t 45 a little young to be a grandmother? And where were the child’s parents? What time is the protest march? If only they’d taken down those confederate statues sooner…

    • It’s not that uncommon. If you have a kid when you’re 23, and your kid has one at the age of 22, bingo, you’re a grandma at 45. I’ve known people who were grandparents in their 30s – now that is too young.

      • Worked with a guy who was a dad at 17, and his daughter a mother at 15.

        After he announced the healthy birth, I pulled him aside and in a low voice I asked him:

        “So. How do you like sleeping with Grandma?”

        He froze for a half-second and then burst out laughing: “Just fine!”

    • In a culture where parenthood has no responsibilities attached, there is no age threshold to cross, other than puberty.

      And it probably doesn’t matter. The girl who becomes a mother at 15 probably won’t be any more capable of handling the responsibility at 25. Personal responsibility isn’t part of the culture.

  15. 45 year old grandmother! Really? I guess it happens.

    I’m thinking her “pistol” was condition one because a toddler ain’t gonna take the safety off _*AND*_ pull the trigger, or pull a revolver trigger through double action (10-12 lbs).

    Conclusion: That’s a picture of yet another dumbass right there in bookings.

  16. 45 isn’t too young to be a grandparent, even a grandparent of a 3 year old.
    You could graduate from college, get married, have a kid, the kid could graduate from college, get married and have a kid, all before you turn 45.

    And I don’t think it’s “wrong” to get married before you’re 20, but it’s often inadvisable. Both my siblings got married the month of their HS graduation. Neither of them is married now. One of them was still married when their children became adults.

    My cousin had her first kid when she was 16. At that kid’s 16th birthday party, I told the mom she was now old enough (32) to be a grandmother. She didn’t think it was funny. Fortunately for her, that kid earned a PhD and got married first, but my cousin was still a grandparent way before 45, just not before 40.

    • Yeah, I’m not getting the “45 being too young for grandkids” comments.

      I was 22yrs old, married, had already served 3 yrs in the military with deployments, and lived on my own with my, now ex, wife, when my oldest daughter was born. That might be a bit young, yes, but it wasn’t absurd, and I wasn’t a child.

      If my oldest has a child before she is 23 that’ll make me a 45 or > yrs old papa. You’re a full fledged adult in your early 20’s, whether you actually know it then, or not.

    • “And I don’t think it’s “wrong” to get married before you’re 20”

      When you get married isn’t a crisis, my bride and I were 20/21 when we tied the knot after 5 years together when we might as well have been married, life was an absolute blast for 8 years after that, through professional occupations and serious partying around the country and overseas, then we had our first child, and THAT is where the stress on a marriage comes from.

  17. “Something a “security professional” should know”

    Most security guards are nothing more than uniformed door men. They are typically paid minimum wage and their training usually consist of watching a short video. 99% of security guards do not carry guns or any weapon at all, and are not expected to have any training on firearms.

    • We have security guards at the entrance to our plant that would demonstrate equivalent competence with a handgun. I suppose it’s a good thing they don’t carry them. The only purpose they serve is to verify paperwork on loads leaving the plant. If someone went postal, they would not be capable of stopping them. But I’m not allowed to carry there for my own protection.

      • I work as a nurse in a hospital in a medium-sized Texas town and we’re the same way. Our security guards might have batons at most. Door sign used to say “no firearms” then last year it went to “no weapons”. Of course in January we got our 30.06/30.07 verbage up. If a nut shows up, we’re on our own.

        • The new law lowered carrying against the sign to only being a Class C misdemeanor with no loss of license and a fine not to exceed $200; it’s a speeding ticket.

          As that comedian would say, “Here’s your sign…”

        • 30-40 years ago, my wife was a nurse in a moderate sized TX town, working in a facility for youth with “behavior problems”, including for a while one young man who had killed someone. There was no such thing as licensed carry at the time, ALL carry was a crime, at least in theory. She carried every day. Every. Day. The day she couldn’t was going to be the day I came and took her home, and I would be armed doing it.

          Just because the laws are stupid, does not mean you have to be.

  18. I call BS.

    I say it was this grandma’s crack addict boyfriend who shot the kid for crying.

    Proof? I have none, but it’s a common enough scenario among certain demographic groups. Besides, I’m not a court of law and don’t have to prove anything.

  19. I’m never one to insist how people store their weapons, or how to raise someone’s kids, but I will say this, it’s still survival of the f*cking fittest out there. Though, it’s not as harsh as it once was, Darwin is still cruel mistress.

    If your child isn’t old enough to understand crapping in the toilet consistently and able bodied enough to successfully bath themselve alone, then you’re playing a dangerous game with relaxed gun storage.

    I won’t say there’s a certain age, however, there is most certainly a maturity level. And some folks probably never reach it; I think the human species is likely over due a consistent natural predator, or two. Over abundance has created a sort of de-evolution, I’m afraid.

    But, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

  20. I do sleep with a gun under my pillow. I tried sleeping with it on top but the gun kept printing. It makes for a long day when people see rebmiK on the side of your face.

  21. Could have been the grandma in her sleep, too. It’s not inconceivable that it was just a tragic accident. Is there any indication whose hand did the deed?

    So sad. Ignorance? Complacency? Stupidity? All will kill you if you don’t make concerted efforts. Don’t be a statistic, and don’t make our loved ones statistics.

    • “Is there any indication whose hand did the deed?”

      She knows. She may not say, but she knows. And we may be assuming facts not in evidence, here, too. I saw no indication that this was not the first night ever that the child spent with her, possibly with no advance notice to prepare. Yeah, likely she doesn’t even know what city the mother lives in, and has had the child since it was born, but we don’t know that.

  22. My carry guns are stored in simplex push-button gun safes and one doubles as the bedside gun. I know the button pattern in my sleep (lock and unlock the safe at least twice a day to put carry gun on in morning and away at night), and there’s no battery to run down. Bolted in place. I highly recommend. The ones I use are from Shotlock, but there are a number of other good vendors. Shotlock’s particular claim to fame is that they make wall-mount versions that allow quick access to a loaded shotgun or AR.

    http://www.shotlock.com/

  23. I am so happy that others have mentioned empty chamber, full magazine. This is ” condition 3″.
    This is how I leave all my handguns.
    Even while in the safe.
    My Ppk/s and Bersa allow the safety to be applied while in this condition, a situation that seems to have no name.
    I have kids in the house and I don’t worry about them touching a gun without permission as they are well schooled in what severe punishment will result.
    I worry about their little friends getting their hands on a loaded gun.
    It can be a zoo around here with 3 kids all with friends over.
    I figure that racking a slide AND flicking a safety is beyond them.
    In a self defense situation, I accept that I will have to take the 1.5 second penalty it takes me to rack the slide and flick the safety.

    • The “Condition n” monickers were invented by 1911 guys, and can only describe states you can leave a 1911 in. Safety on with hammer down (with or without a round loaded) and things like that, are just inconceivable to those guys.

      However the 1911 guys forgot about the condition where the gun is hung up because of a feed ramp jam. Those officially never happen with 1911s because the prototype went through 6000 rounds without a malf on ball ammo, therefore no 1911 ever fails…though I observe them quite often.

  24. Knowing the officers on duty might color my perspective but, “I think it’s safe to say the gun fired when the toddler pulled the trigger. A fact nola.com and the NOPD refuse to confront, to the detriment of its readers’ education.”

    Come on, they were asleep. It is hard to know what happened until the worst happened. She is an idiot and will pay for her actions and inactions.

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