POLICE: Father charged in shooting death of 3-year-old in North St. Louis County

Police believe Rodney March III, 3, gained access to a firearm in the home and shot himself.

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September 12, 2019 - 12:27 pm

ST. LOUIS (KMOX/AP) updated 12:30 p.m. Friday — The father of a 3-year-old boy who police believe shot himself in the head with an unsecured firearm in his home has been charged for endangering the welfare of a child, according to police.

The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office issued charges Friday to Rodney March II, 28,  for allegedly leaving a loaded .40 caliber Glock within the reach of his son, Rodney March III, who died from a gunshot wound Thursday. The child's parents were reportedly home at the time of the incident.

March is being held on $100,000 cash-only bond.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said they received a call for a shooting in the 9500 block of Jacobi Avenue around 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

Police say a female tried to drive the boy to a nearby hospital. Two officers patrolling near the 9800 block of Halls Ferry Road stopped a woman reportedly driving erratically. It was then when the officers found the child in her vehicle suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. 

According to police, the officers began to provide medical assistance to the child, who was then moved to one of the marked police units to be taken to a local hospital. One officer drove, while the other provided life-saving treatment to the boy. 

The life-saving efforts were unsuccessful, and the child was pronounced deceased, police say.

Belmar updated media on the scene, at a two-story brick apartment north of I-70, off Lucas-Hunt Road.

Police say the St. Louis County PD's Bureau of Crimes Against Persons is leading an investigation.

This shooting increases the number of child homicide victims in St. Louis to at least a dozen for the year, according to AP. St. Louis has had about 140 homicides in 2019 and is on pace to top last year’s total of 186.

This week, Gov. Mike Parson met with St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and about a dozen other area leaders to address a “crisis” with violent crime in both St. Louis and Kansas City.

During the weekend of Aug. 23-25, two children and three adults were fatally shot, all in separate instances. During that same time, a third child died of stab wounds. 

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