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Father charged in child’s death, DSS also involved

The father of the 3-year-old who died after he accidentally shot himself to death has been arrested.
Allen Michael Martin, 28, of Walterboro, is charged with two counts of Unlawful Conduct Towards a Child. Martin was arrested on May 15th and was taken to the Colleton County Detention Center.
Martin was charged with two counts of Unlawful Conduct because he has two children: the Colleton County Department of Social Services (DSS) is investigating Martin and safety of the other child in Martin’s care. That child is 9-years-old, according to Cpl. Tiger Martin, spokesman for the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office.
When asked if Martin had a proper permit for the gun used in the child’s death, Benton says that Martin is a convicted felon and cannot legally carry a gun. The gun used in the child’s death has also not yet been recovered by authorities.
Martin’s arrest came more than two weeks after his son, Aiden. J. Martin, 3, also of Walterboro, died at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Martin was first taken to the Colleton Medical Center by his father: he was then transported to MUSC. Martin shot himself inside his father’s house on May 4th using a gun that belonged to his father.
The sheriff’s office officially stated the child’s death was accidental; however, their investigation into Martin’s death continued. That investigation resulted in the arrest of Allen Martin.
Since the child’s death, Colleton County Sheriff R. Andy Strickland says that the sheriff’s office is speaking to area children on gun safety.
“We as a society need to help protect our children and learn more about gun safety,” said Colleton County Sheriff R. Andy Strickland, who spoke to area media outlets on the issue in a written statement. Strickland issued that statement shortly after the toddler’s death.
In that statement, Strickland says the sheriff’s office is actively going into local schools with a message on gun safety. He says the sheriff’s office will “continue” this message going forward and will spread educational information on gun safety by also speaking on the topic at special events and “anywhere where children are gathering.”
“We teach the children, ‘If you see a gun, stop. Don’t touch it. Run away. And tell a grown up,’” said Strickland. “But, we seem to have incidents that are occurring at home where children are getting ahold of firearms,” he said. “If you own a firearm (pistol, rifle, or shotgun), secure them so that kids are not able to have access to them. This is a critical step to protecting these children.”
The sheriff’s office does have educational talks planned in the coming weeks at area schools: gun safety will be one of the topics that authorities address with children at these events, he said.
“This was a terrible incident that may have been avoided if access to a firearm was denied,” he said. “if you feel responsible enough to purchase a firearm, be responsible enough to secure it and protect our children from life-threatening consequences.”

Heather Walters (1487 Posts)