Toddler kills younger brother after parents let him play with a loaded gun

Kentucky authorities have charged the parents of a 3-year-old toddler, who fatally shot his 2-year-old brother, with manslaughter.

Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders expressed the avoidable nature of the tragedy during a news conference, emphasizing that the loaded handgun was left within reach of the unsupervised child.

Legal Actions Against Parents:

The 23-year-old mother, Selena Farrell, faces charges of second-degree manslaughter and other offenses, as per court records. The father, 21-year-old Tashaun Adams, is arrested on second-degree manslaughter charges, awaiting arraignment.

The legal actions are a response to the failure to protect their children from accessing a loaded and unsecured firearm, leading to the tragic death of their 2-year-old son.

Incident Details:

The fatal shooting occurred in an apartment in Northern Kentucky on a Monday afternoon. Responding to the incident around 12:45 p.m. local time, police rushed the toddler to the hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries.

The loaded handgun, purportedly kept for protection, was within the children’s reach in the family’s one-bedroom apartment.

Mother’s Flight and Arrest:

Following the incident, Farrell allegedly fled the scene and did not appear at the hospital where her son, Khalil Adams, passed away.

Sanders revealed that Farrell’s reasons for fleeing included avoiding jail and not missing her child’s funeral, even though the child was still alive. U.S. Marshals located Farrell in a hotel room in Florence, Kentucky, where she was apprehended on an outstanding probation warrant.

Legal Purchase of Firearm:

Sanders stated that Farrell had legally purchased the gun from a federally licensed arms dealer. The family, residing in cramped living conditions, relied on a floor mattress while the toddlers slept on a couch.

Child Survivors and Custody:

The surviving 3-year-old toddler, fortunately, has no physical injuries. Adams is currently held in the Boone County jail, while Farrell is in custody at the Kenton County Detention Center in Covington, Kentucky.

National Context and Gun Safety Laws:

The tragic incident underscores the broader issue of child access to firearms in the United States. Data from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal numerous child fatalities resulting from accidental shootings.

Gun control advocates argue for the importance of safe storage laws, with 26 states having some form of gun-safe storage or child access prevention laws by the beginning of 2024.

Addressing Parental Responsibility:

Sanders emphasized the need for improved parental supervision to prevent such incidents, stating that the issue lies in parenting rather than legislation.

While gun control advocates contend that safe storage laws can mitigate unintentional shootings, the tragic event prompts a renewed conversation about responsible firearm ownership and child safety.

Journalist’s Background:

Cara Tabachnick, a news editor and journalist at, reports on justice and human rights issues, providing insights into the broader context of child access to firearms and the legal consequences faced by the parents in this heartbreaking incident.

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