A Jackson County man faces charges after his 6-year-old son shot his younger sister in the face with a shotgun.
Authorities say 48-year-old Fred B. Maphis was negligent when he left the loaded firearm out and he then told the boy to lie about accidentally shooting his 4-year-old sibling.
The girl suffered non-life-threatening injuries from the gunshot wounds to the side of her face and back and was taken to a La Crosse hospital for treatment. Her current status was not known as of press time.
The town of Alma father stated he was watching television Aug. 30 and the children were in another room when he heard the gunshot and screaming at about 9:15 a.m., according to the criminal complaint filed in Jackson County Circuit Court. Maphis said he found the boy attempting to clean the blood, and he wrapped the girl’s head in a towel and drove to Black River Memorial Hospital.
The boy — who has firearm experience — initially told the sheriff’s department he picked up the shotgun and it went off and shot the girl when he accidentally dropped it, but he later admitted he pulled the trigger and his dad told him to lie about how the gun discharged, according to the complaint.
The boy said the girl asked him to point the gun at her, and he said he aimed it too close to her ear while trying to aim past her shoulder.
Maphis said firearms in the house typically are locked and not accessible to children, but he had forgotten to put away the shotgun and unload it. He said the gun was left on top of a dog kennel in a room after he had been shooting at birds attacking his chickens the previous days.
The boy’s mother told the sheriff’s department the boy has been shooting firearms since he’s been 3 years old and he has a .22-caliber rifle he’s allowed to shoot with parental supervision, according to the complaint.
Maphis is charged with leaving a loaded firearm near a child and obstructing an officer, both misdemeanors. He has an initial court appearance scheduled for Sept. 23.
Jackson County District Attorney Gerald Fox said the boy could not be charged in juvenile court because he’s too young. The boy could, however, be the subject of a child protection or services case, but whether or not he is or will be cannot be disclosed because those cases are subject to confidentiality.