Heather Odom addresses the court after her son shot himself in Myrtle Beach
Two parents left jail on recognizance bonds despite facing charges of child neglect when their 4-year-old shot himself in the forehead while in a Myrtle Beach hotel room on Saturday.
"I just want to say this was just a tragic accident and it's something that shouldn’t have happened, but it did," said Heather Lynn Odom, the victim’s mother.
The child and was in critical condition at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center as of Sunday afternoon. Officials said he is "holding his own" in care.
Myrtle Beach Police charged Odom and Jeremy Barrett with unlawful neglect of a child. They face up to 10 years in prison. The pair, both from North Carolina, appeared via video in a Myrtle Beach Municipal courtroom for a Sunday bond hearing. Judge Clifford Welsh declined to set bond for the parents, opting instead to release them on recognizance bonds.
"This is a very tragic incident, your honor," Myrtle Beach Police Detective A. Walker said.
The 4-year-old shot himself while in a hotel suite at Oceans One Resort at 107 S. Ocean Blvd. Walker said the parents were in another bedroom in the suite when the child fired the gun. According to an arrest warrant, the loaded .38-caliber gun was in Odom's purse.
As Walker detailed the victim's injuries, Odom cried and covered her face with her handcuffed hands. Barrett turned his gaze towards the ground.
Odom told the judge that she and Barrett are good parents and have jobs. They also have family members who love and want what's best for the victim. The Department of Social Services is working with the victim's grandparents since the shooting, Walker said.
Family members filled one side of the small courtroom and several spoke about the incident and how the parents are good to their son.
"It's just a tragic thing that happened," Barrett's mother said.