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Jackson County Prosecutor Charges Father In Fatal Shooting Of Toddler

Elle Moxley
KCUR 89.3
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, along with Rosilyn Temple of Mothers in Charge and Kansas City Police detectives, announces homicide charges in the shooting of a 2-year-old.

The father of a toddler who died last week after accidentally shooting herself with his gun has been charged with second degree murder, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced Wednesday.

Courtenay Block, 24, told police he was sleeping when his 2-year-old daughter shot herself in the head April 21.

“Children are not responsible for their own safety,” Baker said at a news conference. “That’s our job. Your job and mine.”

Missouri law allows a charge of felony murder when a death results in the perpetration of another felony, Baker explained. Block was already charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

At one point during the news conference, Baker held up a handgun secured with a gun lock.

“This is the gun lock we're willing to give you for free if you just ask,” she said.

Rosilyn Temple’s 26-year-old son was murdered in 2011. She said she can’t imagine losing a baby due to irresponsible gun ownership.

“Mothers in Charge have canvassed our community in the last few years, knocking on doors, begging people to take gun locks,” Temple said. “and people refuse to take precautions.”

As Baker often does at news conferences announcing charges in cases involving child victims, she read the names of other young homicide victims.

“You are not remarkable because you own a gun, and innocent children should not be at further risk because you own a gun,” she said.

Elle Moxley is a reporter for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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