CUMBERLAND, Ind. — An Indianapolis man has been arrested and charged with felony child neglect after police say a 6-year-old boy living in Cumberland accidentally used his gun to shoot and kill a 4-year-old sibling over the summer.
Terrelle S. Jackson was arrested on Sept. 8, according to the Cumberland Metropolitan Police Department, after a warrant was issued for Neglect of a Dependent Causing Death, a level 1 felony. The charge, CMPD said, stems from the July shooting death of Deor Neita.
Previous reporting shows that CMPD officers were called around 4:30 p.m. on July 5 to a possible child shot in the 600 block of Woodlark Drive in Cumberland. Upon arrival, officers found 4-year-old Neita suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. She was pronounced dead on scene.
CMPD detectives arrived shortly after and began investigating Neita’s death as a homicide. Multiple interviews were conducted, including with surviving children who were in the house when the shooting occurred and provided insight into what happened.
“It was discovered four children, ages six and younger, had located a firearm in an upstairs bedroom,” CMPD said. “It is believed the children had prior knowledge the firearm was kept there and whom it belonged to.”
The children began “playing” with the firearm, which CMPD said was loaded with an extended magazine, did not have the safety enabled and was not equipped with a gunlock.
Unfortunately, while being handled by a 6-year-old boy, the gun went off and a bullet struck Neita in the head.
“It is not believed the 6-year-old had any intention of harming any individual nor had the understanding of the devastation a firearm can create,” CMPD investigators said.
Throughout the investigation, CMPD said that detectives were able to determine the gun belonged to Jackson. The Indianapolis man, police said, was living at the Cumberland home in July and shared one child with Neita’s mother.
At the time of the shooting, police said Jackson was not legally allowed to own a firearm. Detectives concluded that his actions were a factor in Neita’s death.
“[Jackson’s] alleged intentional failure to properly secure a loaded firearm in a home with six small children directly contributed to the death of Deor Neita.” – CMPD
The findings of the case were then brought to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, which subsequently charged Jackson with felony neglect on Aug. 15 and issued a warrant for his arrest.
Less than a month later, on Sept. 8, CMPD said Jackson was apprehended and booked into the Marion County Jail. Online court records show an initial hearing in his case was held on Sept. 12 and that a jury trial is scheduled to begin on Jan. 29, 2024.