Man charged after Colorado toddler shoots brother

DENVER Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:23am IST

Adam Dean Laham, arrested on suspicion of child abuse resulting in death and criminal negligence, is seen in a police mugshot released by the Lakewood Police Department in Lakewood, Colorado, December 24, 2011. REUTERS/Lakewood Police Department/Handout

Adam Dean Laham, arrested on suspicion of child abuse resulting in death and criminal negligence, is seen in a police mugshot released by the Lakewood Police Department in Lakewood, Colorado, December 24, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Lakewood Police Department/Handout

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DENVER (Reuters) - A Kansas man accused of leaving a loaded handgun where a 3-year-old Colorado boy found it and shot his 5-year-old brother dead was charged on Friday with felony child abuse.

Authorities said Adam Dean Laham, 23, left his loaded .32-caliber semiautomatic handgun unsecured while visiting the boys' home in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, earlier this month.

The toddler shot his brother in the chest after finding the weapon in a bedroom where Laham was staying, police said.

The boys' father heard the gunshot and raced to the bedroom, where he saw the 3-year-old holding the weapon. He performed CPR on his older son until an ambulance arrived, but the boy was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

The 3-year-old told police he wanted to show his brother the gun and that he accidentally "shooted" his older sibling, according to the affidavit.

Laham, who is being held on a $40,000 bond, told police the shooting "was totally my fault" because he had not stowed the handgun, an arrest warrant affidavit said.

Prosecutors charged him with reckless child abuse resulting in death. If convicted, he faces up to 48 years in prison.

Laham told investigators he went outside to smoke a cigarette, and gave the boys permission to play video games in the bedroom where he was staying. He told police he always sleeps with a loaded gun at his bedside, and forgot to secure it because he was unaccustomed to being around children.

"He does not have children and is not used to putting it away," the affidavit said.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Cynthia Johnston; )

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