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Ammunition seized from home where toddler shot himself

Posted January 2, 2009

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— Raleigh police found two boxes of shotgun shells and a digital scale with a razor blade inside the home where a 3-year-old shot and killed himself late Christmas Eve, according to a search warrant returned Friday.

Investigators seized a 10-round box and an 18-round box of Winchester 12-gauge shotgun shells from 1123 Ujamaa Drive, where Pharell Hinton got access to a 9 mm handgun that, police believe, belongs to his father, Eric Hinton.

Hinton, 26, was arrested the next day on charges of involuntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm by a felon. He had been on probation since last December for a marijuana conviction and was not allowed to own a weapon.

The wrrant says that investigators also seized from the home, which belongs to Hinton's mother, an "Accurate Ammunition" box containing five 9 mm rounds, a disposable camera, cell phone, a letter addressed to Eric Hinton and a pink copy of a prior warrant for Eric Hinton.

Hinton's uncle, Brian Hinton, said last week that his nephew was trying to get Pharell, as well as two of his other two young sons, to go to bed and was trying to let them run themselves out of energy when the shooting occurred.

In a 911 call released last week, Hinton told the dispatcher he was in the back yard with his other sons playing hide-and-seek when he heard the gunshot.

Brian Hinton said his nephew was trying to change his life and suggested a shooting in October could be why he might have had a gun.

"If he had that gun, he definitely didn't purposefully leave it there," Brian Hinton said.

Hinton, who is being held under a $100,000 bond, has been on suicide watch at the Wake County Jail since his arrest.

Pharell's funeral was Friday at 1 p.m. at Haywood Funeral Home in Raleigh.


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  • LaLa-Land Jan 2, 2009

    There are those arguing that this man was trying to be a good parent. I completely disagree. Someone trying to be a good parent would never leave a gun out around childern. Never. Bottom line.

  • meh2 Jan 2, 2009

    Ultimately one's parenting ability can be assessed by the percentage of one's children that make it to their majority. Loss of one due to gross negligence greatly harms the argument that one is a "good parent".

  • Tom Bombadil Jan 2, 2009

    Did they seize the gun yet?

  • leo-nc Jan 2, 2009

    "I thank God everyday none of you are him!!! It is so easy for the "pot" to call the "kettle" black. Take a look at your own lives. What's important here is the fact a three year old has died. He father didn't shoot him or have him shot. He was there trying to be a good parent. We all make mistakes. WRAL you need to get a life!!!"----

    Get a clue. The guy was a convicted felon and at the time of the shooting, he was committing a FELONY by even having a firearm in the first place. Trying to be a good parent? PLEASE. Lets see; a loaded 9mm in possession of a felon, scales, shotgun shells. Yeah right, he was really trying to be a good parent.

  • TheAdmiral Jan 2, 2009

    "So hard to understand after all the hype about gun safety and the children who have died, WHY it is impossible to keep your gun out of reach of your child."


  • TheAdmiral Jan 2, 2009

    "Please put this little boy somewhere safe with some family member who KNOWs responsibility."

    They are 6 feet under.

    Why not put the kids in the gun safe if they are going to have guns out.

    The fact of the matter is that he should not have had the guns, and he knew it.

  • TheAdmiral Jan 2, 2009

    Welp - I am sorry for the kid. Not sorry for the father. Why?

    The father was a convicted felon. Under the law, he can not have a gun, ammunition, or any other item that shoots at someone else.

    It is an additional felony, which should get him 30 years for posession of a hand gun, and life for the murder of this kid.

    When they process out these idiots they say: "You are not allowed to own or be in possession of a firearm such as a pistol, shotgun, or any other item that be considered a weapon. Do you understand?"

    If he affirmed he understood, then he was in violation and needs to go for life.

  • BULLDOZER Jan 2, 2009

    Please put this little boy somewhere safe with some family member who KNOWs responsibility.

  • xchief661 Jan 2, 2009

    So hard to understand after all the hype about gun safety and the children who have died, WHY it is impossible to keep your gun out of reach of your child. I don't care what he did before Christmas day, his past has nothing to do with the death of his child. Granted the law says that a convicted felon cannot own a firearm. The truth of it is that a curious child of any age should not have been able to get to it at all. There were 2 other children in that house who also could be dead. I just find it inexcusable that a child is dead because of the lack of safety. I know that his daddy and that family is grieving tremendously and my heart is sad for all of you that you buried that baby today. God Bless and give you peace!

  • Willows Sassy Britches Jan 2, 2009

    im sorry but good parents dont leave handguns laying around and drug making items