Local News

Durham mother charged in shooting death where one son shot another

Posted July 8, 2014
Updated July 10, 2014

Amy Suzanne Pittman

— Durham police on Wednesday arrested a mother on manslaughter and other charges in connection with the April fatal shooting of her 9-year-old son by his 12-year-old brother.

But her oldest son, also the boys' older brother, says some of the charges are not warranted.

On April 28, Christian Pittman was killed by his older brother while they played with a gun at their Macon Street home. Police were notified of the incident after the 12-year-old, who was injured but not shot, contacted emergency operators.

"I don't know if he's dead," said the child, who dialed 911 from a nearby home and was crying during the call. "He's bleeding really bad. He's been shot. I don't know if he's breathing."

Amy Suzanne Pittman, 36, was indicted Tuesday on one count of manslaughter; three counts of felony child abuse, gross negligence; three counts of misdemeanor child abuse; three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one count of failure to store firearms to protect minors.

Pittman was in the Durham County jail Thursday under a $151,000 bond.

Christian Pittman was pronounced dead when emergency personnel arrived. His mother was not home at the time of the shooting, police said.

Investigators determined that the shooting was an accident, but the grand jury decided Amy Pittman should be charged with a crime.

Deeshawn Magwood, 19, Pittman’s oldest son, said she had left her children alone without incident before, and that she didn’t know there was a gun in the house.

Magwood said his 12-year-old brother has had a difficult time dealing with what happened.

"I don’t see how they can blame my mama for something she didn’t know was there," he said. "That’s the God’s honest truth. She didn’t know that gun was there, nobody did. She was wrong for running that quick errand and leaving (their sister) in charge. But she did it numerous of times."

Relatives believe the gun belonged to an ex-boyfriend of Amy Pittman.


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  • Pepe Silvia Jul 10, 2014

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    It takes a lot more effort to kill someone with a knife or a bat. For instance, you can't accidentally stab someone to death from across the room.

  • sunshine1040 Jul 10, 2014

    I was hired at the age of 12 to babysit for a younger child so leaving the child unattended in not a crime but as far as the gun somebody knew it was in the house including the 12 year old. The person that brought the gun into the house is the one that should be charged. All members of the house should know there is a real gun in the house. All over the age of 5 should have taken a firearm safety class. If someone in the house has committed a felony or has anger management classes then no weapons should be allowed on the property. And guns should be put where younger children cannot acccess the gun or the bullets

  • bill0 Jul 10, 2014

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    You don't seem to understand which is the cause and which is the effect. More rural areas with low crime etc tend to have few restrictions on everything - including guns. High density areas tend to have crime problems and enact more laws about everything - including guns.

    That is the fundamental divide in this country. If you live in rural or suburban areas, it doesn't matter much to you if your neighbor is doing something stupid. Their behavior has little impact on you. If you live in a densely populated area and have neighbors on all sides, their behavior has a huge impact on your life. It shouldn't be surprising that those 2 groups want drastically different levels of government involvement.

  • PJM Jul 10, 2014

    Is that her mug shot? She doesnt look phased at all about her current situation. Wow you lost a child and now she is losing another one after she is convicted. This is a lose lose situation for sure! What a shame....

  • pedsRN Jul 9, 2014

    Sad that this young boy died.
    2 things to be learned from this sad story:
    1)Women-Be careful whom you bring around your children. Don't just bring any guy around your kids. Get to know him before introducing him to your children & be mindful of what he brings into your home.
    2) Teach your children the difference between a toy gun & a real gun. 9 & 12 years old can comprehend this. I grew with guns in our home. They weren't stored loaded & we knew that we weren't to play with them.

  • "Screen Name-8/20" Jul 9, 2014

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    What is your absolute truth in knowing that?
    Do the US Justice System and US citizens a GREAT favor - never sit on a jury cause you'd convict a person based on your thoughts and feelings alone, without a single shred of evidence.

    Because there's not a single shred of evidence (YET) that this mother for a fact knew that loaded firearm was there. There may be evidence of it later, but there is ZERO evidence of that right now.

  • "Screen Name-8/20" Jul 9, 2014

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    Studies have also shown those with 25% more teeth have 25% more cavities which aligns with the lame studies you presented. smh

    OF COURSE, those WITH firearms will have a greater risk of experiencing injury and/or death from them. One doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.

    Just like those with forks also have a greater risk of experiencing injury and/or death from them, than those who do not have forks. smh

  • dooksuckso Jul 9, 2014

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    The only studies showing that are fake ones cooked up by liberals with an agenda. A study released today shows that murder goes down with higher rates of legal gun ownership and down further with the number of CCW permits issued. Other studies have completely destroyed the suicide/negligent discharge myth as well.



  • "Screen Name-8/20" Jul 9, 2014

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    Since the eldest child is saying no one knew the firearm was even in the house until the two younger children found it, how exactly do you put a lock on a firearm that you don't know is there?

    With magic!?!

  • "Screen Name-8/20" Jul 9, 2014

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    Reading some of these comments is like reading some of Grimm's Fairy Tales.

    When you don't actually know something, be adult enough to admit it.

    All these lame guesses without a single shred of actual evidence.


    Prayers for the family, regardless the circumstances.