Family remembers toddler they say shot himself with father’s gun

2-year-old boy accidentally shoots, kills self

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Angela Jelks Gilliam will fondly remember her great grandson.

“He was so playful, so joyful, fun, make you laugh where you would say, ‘That’s an old man in a two-year-old body',” Gilliam says.

Ke'Anthony Jelks, Jr. was with Gilliam's daughter when she got the call Wednesday morning.

“And she said, “My grandbaby dead. Jr. dead.” And I couldn’t do nothing--I couldn’t do nothing but fall to the ground--get up, walking, screaming, hollering,” Gilliam recalls.

At the scene, Birmingham Police scoured the grounds inside the Collegeville Housing Community where Jelks, Jr. lived with his parents.

Officers released few details only calling it an unclassified death.

“We’re trying to confirm exactly what happened, and then we’ll proceed once we find the details,” said Birmingham Police Capt. James Jackson.

But family members shed more light on what they understand happened. Gilliam saying the boy’s father legally carried a gun for protection because of his work hours.

“The father had just gotten off work. And probably just set the gun somewhere. and like I said, children look and play around with stuff. And that just probably happened to fall in his eyesight. And he got it,” Gilliam says.

While police won’t confirm the details, they did make this request.

“For those of us that have guns, we just ask that you keep them safe and out of the reach of children. We know this becomes redundant, we say this all the time--situations like this is the reason why,” Jackson says.

Gilliam echoes that sentiment. “Even though his father keeps it away from him--children see where you put things at. And they think it’s a toy--they think it’s something to play with. And it’s not,” she says through tears. “Guns ain’t worth it--keep them away from around your children. And if you have to have it for protection, put a lock on them. Put a lock on them because just like it happened to me, it could happen to you, too.”

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