BEECH GROVE, Ind. – A father arrested after his son was seen on TV pointing a loaded gun at people told police the firearm belonged to a cousin.
Beech Grove police arrested Shane Osborne, 45, on a preliminary charge of neglect of a dependent in connection with the Jan. 14 incident. His son appeared on “On Patrol: Live,” a reality TV show that follows the Beech Grove Police Department.
Footage from a Ring doorbell camera showed the boy, wearing only a diaper, playing with a silver and black handgun. The boy spun the gun in his hand and occasionally pointed it at himself. A neighbor told police he pointed it at them and said, “Look what I got. Pop, pop,” according to the broadcast.
Neighbors reported seeing the boy wandering around by himself. Beech Grove Deputy Chief Robert Mercuri said the boy pulled the trigger and played with the gun like it was a toy.
When police knocked on Osborne’s apartment door, he didn’t immediately answer, according to court documents. Officers entered the apartment and encountered Osborne, who told him he’d been “ill all day” and didn’t know his son had left the apartment. He said he didn’t keep a gun in the apartment and added that his son didn’t have any toy guns.
Investigators didn’t find any guns after a cursory look around the apartment in which Osborne aided them. As officers were leaving the apartment, a neighbor from a nearby unit informed them they had video footage of the incident that showed the boy on the landing of the apartment with the gun.
Police then did a more thorough search of Osborne’s apartment with his consent, according to court documents. He told police during the search that a relative may have left the gun behind. He led them to a bedroom closet, although officers didn’t find the firearm.
After an officer asked the child where he kept his “pew pew,” the boy led them to a roll-top desk. When the desk was opened, police located a silver and black Smith & Wesson SD9 VE lying “against the left, interior corner of the desk.” The desk had been closed during the initial search.
“The gun did not have a round chambered,” according to court documents, “but there were 15 rounds in the magazine.”
Osborne maintained the gun wasn’t his, telling investigators it belonged to a cousin who “sometimes left the weapon [in the apartment] when he felt mentally unstable.” Osborne said he didn’t know the gun was there or that his son knew about it.
Osborne is prohibited from owning a gun because of a past felony conviction. He informed officers his fingerprints would be on the weapon “because he had handled it in the past” when his cousin left it in the apartment.
Osborne said he must have been “very asleep” because he thought his son was inside playing and watching TV; he never heard him leave. He was watching the boy, Osborne said, because his mother was even sicker than he was. The boy’s grandmother took him to his mother’s home. The Department of Child Services is investigating.
A 72-hour hold has been requested in the case. Osborne’s initial hearing is scheduled for Thursday, according to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office.