Cops: Dad was asleep with loaded gun when 4-year-old shot himself
PEMBERTON TOWNSHIP — A father of three young children had fallen asleep with a loaded handgun next to him on a bed when his 4-year-old son accidentally shot and killed himself two weeks ago, according to the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office.
Andrew Mack, 31, of the Browns Mills section of the township, has been charged with second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said.
Mack also was charged with storage of firearms if minors may have access, which is a disorderly persons offense or misdemeanor.
Police and EMTs were called to the family’s home on Maricopa Trail Feb. 7 just after 7 p.m. and found young Lincoln Mack with a gunshot wound to his cheek. He was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead a short time later.
Coffina said Andrew Mack was asleep in a bedroom with the loaded 9mm handgun, when Lincoln came in and took the firearm.
The prosecutor said the 4-year-old then went into another room where he had been playing with his younger sister and shot himself in the face.
“The death of Lincoln Mack was a tragedy, and it was made all the worse by the fact that it was entirely avoidable,” Coffina said.
“Our deepest sympathies are with the Mack family and all of those who loved Lincoln, however, the defendant must be held accountable for not securing his firearm.”
Lincoln’s mother also was at home at the time of the shooting, as were his two siblings, the prosecutor's office said.
Mack is scheduled for a first appearance in Burlington County Superior Court Thursday afternoon.
Surviving Lincoln are a young brother and sister, according to an online fundraiser for the family's funeral expenses.