Mom charged with homicide in death of 3-year-old boy who shot himself

Kelly L. Pittman
photo Kelly L. Pittman

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office today charged an Apison, Tenn., mother with criminally negligent homicide in the shooting death of her 3-year-old son last Wednesday.

Kelly L. Pittman, 26, was charged with 1 count of child endangerment and one count of criminally negligent homicide.

Three-year-old Gavin Pittman accidentally shot himself inside a vehicle that was parked at 4724 Gates Lane, according to the sheriff's office.

The child was pronounced dead at an area hospital.

Kelly Pittman was taken into custody today and transported to the Hamilton County Jail, where she was booked on the outstanding warrants. Pittman was booked under the alias of Kelly Leigh-Anne Michaels.

She is being held under a $500,000 bond.

The family has lived there for several years, neighbors said.

"They definitely care about those kids," Janet McElroy said. "They love their kids."

Gavin was an especially rambunctious toddler, another neighbor said.

The boy's family declined to speak with the Times Free Press. His death comes months after a high-profile incident in Clarksville, Tenn., where a 2-year-old boy was shot and killed in October 2015. Authorities later arrested the boy's stepfather and said the man plotted to kill the toddler.

And in January, a 7-year-old boy was accidentally shot in the head after he was left alone in a vehicle with three other children. In that case, one child found a loaded, semi-automatic pistol inside a purse.

None of the toddlers who have been killed in the city of Chattanooga during the last five years were shot to death, according to The Toll, a Times Free Press database of homicides. Since 2011, three children ages four and younger have been killed within the city limits.

Tatiana Emerson, 3, and Tyre'Ke Evans, 4, were beaten to death. Demarcus Bryant, 1, died from an overdose when a caretaker put a powerful drug pain patch on his back.

Zoey Duncan, now 2, was shot and paralyzed from the chest down during a home invasion in Chattanooga in January 2015 - she survived.