Lake County father arrested after 12-year-old son fatally shoots himself, deputies say

Christopher Wyatt left loaded assault-style rifle under bed, affidavit shows

Christopher Wyatt is being held in the Lake County Jail. (Copyright 2020 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – A Lake County father is facing an aggravated manslaughter charge Tuesday after deputies say he recklessly left his assault-style rifle under his bed, leaving it available for his son to fatally shoot himself.

Jeremyah Wyatt, 12, died Aug. 31, after suffering a gunshot wound to the head.

The boy was sleeping on the floor of the master bedroom with his 7-year-old sister close by and his 10-year-old sister on the bed, the arrest affidavit reads. The children were in the room the night before along with their 1-month-old sister with their parents and had fallen asleep while watching a movie. Investigators say Wyatt had previously stored his assault-style rifle underneath the bed, close to where the children were sleeping.

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Just before 9 a.m. the next morning, Wyatt and his wife went downstairs with their infant. Not long after, they heard a loud bang and their 10-year-old daughter scream, according to a report. Wyatt ran upstairs and found his son lying on the floor with a bullet wound in his head next to the assault-style rifle. The affidavit outlines Wyatt then took his children and wife downstairs, unloaded the firearm and then called 911.

Deputies say the firearm did not have a safety. In October of last year, authorities had also investigated a complaint regarding the unsafe storage of a firearm at Wyatt’s home. The 31-year-old signed a firearm safety plan, agreeing to properly store his firearms away from his children, Lake County Sheriff’s Office records show.

A medical examiner determined the child’s cause of death was an accident. However, deputies say Wyatt improperly and carelessly stored a functioning and loaded assault-style rifle underneath his bed. Their investigation revealed the child reached for the firearm, accidentally discharging it, according to a report.

Wyatt turned himself into authorities and is now facing aggravated manslaughter of a child charge. He is being held in the Lake County Jail on a $100,000 bond.