by Cassandra R. Elias
In the News: Routine Traffic Stop Yields Toddler Holding Loaded Handgun
It takes a lot to shock police these days. Faced with everything from gangs to zombies, a routine traffic stop is usually not too eventful, although they're always prepared for anything. It's rare, if not unheard of however, to be faced with what Chicago police found on one particular routine stop. It was indeed, shocking.
The police stopped one car filled with adults and two children because it appeared the two tots were not properly restrained. But that was the least of the concerns they encountered. When they pulled the car over, they found a three-year-old toddler holding a loaded handgun. Yes, loaded!
When confronted, the little girl dropped the gun, which thankfully did not go off. It's frightening to imagine what could have happened.
The owner, Queshawn King, 19, was charged with "felony unlawful use of a weapon" for having a loaded weapon in the vehicle. He was also charged with a misdemeanor count of "endangering the life and health of a child," and "misdemeanor possession of a gun without a valid firearm owner's identification card," police said.
Police say King was one of six people in a vehicle that they stopped because officers saw two children who were not in car seats or wearing seat belts. The girl's mother and grandmother were also in the car. While not being properly restrained is extremely unsafe, in this instance, it may have saved their lives as the police may not have stopped the car at all.
As a police officer walked toward the vehicle, the officer saw King making "furtive'' downward movements toward the three-year-old child who was sitting next to him. While talking with King, the officer found him to be "extremely nervous." A police sergeant who was approaching the vehicle's front passenger side then saw the toddler holding a handgun, according to the police report.
Thank goodness the gun didn't go off. You'd think the children's own mother, who was in the car, would also be held responsible for child endangerment or neglect and not just for not having the children restrained properly -- not to mention allowing them to be in such close proximity to a loaded weapon.
What do you think should happen? What kind of justice would you serve?