Media Contact: Curtis T. Hill, Jr. (574) 296-1888

On November 20, 2014 at approximately 7:30 p.m., three year old Jeremiah Ross was home with his mother, at Morton Avenue in Elkhart. According to the investigation by the Elkhart Police Department’s Homicide Unit, the child was in the master bedroom with his mother when she left the room. Shortly thereafter, she reported hearing a “popping” sound and returned to observe Jeremiah in the bedroom, bleeding from a head injury. She also observed a gun lying on the bed. The police investigation revealed that the gun involved in the child’s death was a 9mm Smith and Wesson semi-automatic handgun that was legally purchased and owned by the child’s father who was not home during the incident.

Based upon our review of the evidence gathered by the Elkhart Police Department Homicide Unit, there is no evidence to suggest that a person other than Jeremiah fired the shot which killed him. Nor is there any evidence to suggest that this result was anything other than a tragic accident. It is troubling that a firearm was left unattended, loaded and in an area accessible to the child. However, criminal prosecution is not warranted in this case as both parents have suffered a tremendous loss, to wit: the unnecessary death of their only child; and any further criminal consideration is not in the best interest of justice.

“In memory of young Jeremiah, the public safety community is reminding all owners of weapons to be mindful of appropriate protections regarding the storage and placement of such weapons in the proximity of small children,” said Elkhart County Prosecuting Attorney, Curtis T. Hill, Jr. “It is the firearm owner’s responsibility to understand safety precautions such as how and where to store a firearm and what type of locking mechanism is most suitable. If firearms and other weapons are maintained in the home, parents should gauge the risks to their family and make certain that their older children understand and respect the potential harm of a loaded firearm and that younger children in particular be insulated as best as they can to keep this type of tragic result from happening again,” said Hill.


“Under Indiana law, all persons arrested for a criminal offense are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”