Originally created 02/25/97

Boy, 3, dead in shooting



A 3-year-old boy was killed Monday night when his 7-year-old brother shot him in the head at their south Augusta home, Richmond County officials said.

Joquan B. Gaines died about 8 p.m. in a bedroom at the home in the 3000 block of Tate Road, Richmond County Coroner Leroy Sims said. An autopsy will be performed Tuesday.

Joquan was shot shortly before 7:30 p.m. by his brother Corey Gaines, said Chief Deputy Ronald Strength of Richmond County's Sheriff Department.

Dozens of relatives and neighbors cried as Joquan's body was carried from the white ranch-style home and placed in an ambulance. Wearing a police jacket and blue jeans, Corey was taken to the law enforcement center to be questioned about the shooting.

The shooting happened when Corey and Joquan were in a bedroom with several guns and a rifle, Chief Deputy Strength said. They were talking about the guns when Corey picked up a fully loaded 12-gauge shotgun and pulled the trigger, hitting his brother in the left side of the head, he said.

Ms. Gaines told police she was out shopping during the shooting, and the boys were home with their uncles, ages 21 and 14.

The uncles were not in the room during the shooting, police said.

"The shooting appears to be accidental. But we are still investigating," Chief Deputy Strength said.

Chief Deputy Strength didn't know if charges would be filed against the boy's mother, Shandra Gaines, 24, but said he didn't expect charges to be filed against Corey.

District Attorney Danny Craig, who said he wasn't familiar with the facts of this case, added that it was unlikely a 7-year-old would be charged in a fatal shooting.

But police were trying to figure out to whom the guns belonged and why the boys were allowed in the room, Chief Deputy Strength said.

"Parents have to be responsible when there are young kids in the home. Guns should be out of reach and in a secure place where it is impossible for kids to get to them," Chief Deputy Strength said.