Police: Leesburg father shoots 4-year-old son

By David Bodden, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 29, 2017, 6:21 PM EST

A man is accused of shooting his 4-year-old son in Leesburg early Wednesday morning, according to police.

  • Herbert Leevon James is facing child abuse, other charges
  • 4-year-old son is in critical, but stable condition
  • Child was struck by round while sleeping inside the house

Herbert Leevon James, 24, is charged with aggravated child abuse domestic and negligent discharge of a firearm.

He has been taken to the Lake County Jail with a $5,000 bond, police said.

James' cousin, who would not give his name to Spectrum News 13, said James recently got a concealed carry permit and the gun. He has no idea what would have set his cousin off, but he does not believe James meant to harm the child.

The 4-year-old boy is in critical, but stable condition.

At about 2 a.m., officers with the Leesburg Police Department responded to Berwick Drive after receiving calls about gunshots in the area.

Officers found bullet holes in a vehicle with James nearby. He was not cooperating with the officers, according to Lt. Joe Iozzi.

"They made contact with the resident who was uncooperative and belligerent with the officers and ultimately went back inside the residence," Iozzi said.

Iozzi said moments after James entered the house, officers heard a shot and made a forceful entry inside.

Officers ordered James to drop the weapon and took him into custody, according to Iozzi.

Iozzi said that the bullet James fired went through a wall and into the bedroom of James' son, who was sleeping.

"His son had been shot in the upper torso," Iozzi said. "Fortunately, one of the officers that was inside, Sgt., Travis Whitley, who has EMT certification and is a SWAT team medic, he was immediately able to start rendering aid to the child."

Emergency crews took the child to Leesburg Regional Medical Center and later transferred him to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando.

James spoke from jail Wednesday afternoon and said he went to take his holster off when the it hit the ground and the gun went off. 

"A gun dropped and discharged, accident, mistake that’s honestly what it was man," he said.  "I didn’t mean any of this I was just getting off of work and I was just disarming myself."

James said he was not under the influence, but police say he could face more charges depending on his toxicology.

James also said he was not the one who fired shots inside the car.