Marion County jail employee arrested after 4-year-old shot self in hand, Ocala police say

Boy expected to survive

OCALA, Fla. – A Marion County jail employee was arrested after a 4-year-old boy shot himself in the hand Monday night in Ocala, police said.

The shooting happened around 6:45 p.m. in the 600 block of Southeast 28th Place.

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According to police, Marion County Sheriff’s Office employee Carlene Jarrett was arrested after the shooting.

An arrest affidavit shows Jarrett was visiting her friend’s apartment and had a Ruger handgun zipped into the pocket of her sweater. Jarrett said the gun was left in the sweater on the table, while the boy’s mother contests the gun was beside a sleeping Jarrett on the couch.

Jarrett told officers a bullet was in there, but the gun’s safety was on, according to the affidavit.

She then proceeded to fall asleep on the couch as the child played before being woken up by a gunshot and another person in the apartment yelling, “I told you he was curious,” the report continues.

“The gun was in the living area. The child got a hold of the gun while the friend was sleeping,” said Jeff Walczak from the Ocala Police Department. “And that’s when the child fired the gun.”

After learning the boy shot himself in the hand, Jarrett drove the boy and his mother to the hospital, officers said.

Ocala police said the boy is expected to survive.

According to the arrest affidavit, the middle and ring fingers on his right hand needed to be “surgically reconstructed.”

The boy’s grandmother told News 6 he is recovering, though.

“He’s fine. He’s doing fine and he’s playing, and he’s riding his bicycle, just being a normal child,” she said. “His injuries? Just a graze on his hand. That’s it.”

Jarrett, a detention assistant at the Marion County jail, is currently booked there herself.

Police said Jarrett was planning to take a test to become a correctional officer the day after the shooting occurred. She is now on unpaid leave as the case is investigated.

She faces a culpable negligence charge.

Following the incident, Ocala police urged gun owners to be careful.

“Be responsible with your gun, make sure it doesn’t get into the wrong hands, especially a child,” Walczak said.

About the Authors:

Daniel started with WKMG-TV in 2000 and became the digital content manager in 2009. When he's not working on, Daniel likes to head to the beach or find a sporting event nearby.

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.