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Father whose 3-year-old shot himself is charged with endangering child

A Wyoming County father whose 3-year-old son accidentally shot himself with his father's gun was charged Friday with endangering the welfare of the child.

Matthew Howell, 42, of Tooley Road, Town of Bennington, was issued an appearance ticket for the misdemeanor crime.

The boy, who shot himself at 7:56 a.m. Dec. 30 in the chest or shoulder with a .45 caliber handgun at the family's home, remained hospitalized Friday at John R. Oishei Children's Hospital.

"The child is still hospitalized, but doing well, and we are all ultimately thankful and thrilled with that outcome,” Sheriff Gregory Randolph said.

"Although this was a terrible accident, it was completely preventable," the sheriff said in a news release. "The loaded handgun was left unattended for minutes in the living room, but it was readily accessible to the child, which was the most significant factor in determining the charge. No one wins in a case like this; it is heart-wrenching to everyone involved."

The handgun was registered to Howell, who is due in Town of Bennington Court on Jan. 29.

Howell and his wife provided immediate care to their son, and the Bennington Ambulance and Monroe Ambulance responded within minutes to provide advanced care, the sheriff said.

Howell could not be reached Friday for comment.

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