Local News

Police: Gun that killed Fayetteville toddler was illegally owned

Posted October 21, 2013

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— Police said Monday that the Fayetteville man charged in the accidental shooting death of his daughter over the weekend should never have had a gun in the house because he's a convicted felon.

Melvin Andre Clark Jr., 19, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was in the Cumberland County jail Monday under a $50,000 bond.

2-year-old dies of accidental shooting Police say Fayetteville man's disregard for safety led to girl's death

Clark's 2-year-old daughter, Samarri Tyana Beauford, found a loaded .22-caliber semiautomatic handgun hidden under the living room couch on Saturday afternoon, and the gun went off when she grabbed it, police said. She died at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.

Clark wasn't at home at the time of the shooting. His mother and younger sister also lived in the home at 2669 Graham Road with him and his daughter.

The family declined to comment Monday, but a neighbor said the involuntary manslaughter charge was uncalled for. Clark loved his daughter and worked hard to take care of her, and the shooting was an accident, said the neighbor, who asked not to be identified.

Lt. Todd Joyce of the Fayetteville Police Department said "the reckless storage of the gun" and the "disregard for the safety of others" warranted the charge.

Joyce also noted Clark had the gun illegally.

Two years ago, Clark was convicted on four counts of breaking and entering and larceny and was placed on probation.

He faces up to seven years in prison on the involuntary manslaughter charge.

57 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Lightfoot3 Oct 23, 2013

    "And there's ALWAYS a live round under the hammer in a loaded revolver- unless you leave the gun partially empty" - junkmail5


    Given the transfer bar system of modern revolvers, not many if any leave the chamber under the hammer empty. But I have heard of people leaving the next chamber empty as a form of "safety" for the first trigger pull.


    As has you've said, a 2 year old can pull a trigger pretty easily, even on a revolver. I've got a .32 that's smooth as silk.

  • mbsheisey Oct 23, 2013

    To answer junkmail5, if you want to make a revolver easier to fire, you pull back the hammer. If you don't pull back the hammer, you have to use a lot more pressure to pull the trigger. Does it make sense now?

  • junkmail5 Oct 22, 2013

    Mikeyfan5600

    Studies have shown that even a 10 lb trigger pull is usable by age 3 a decent % of the time- so a 2 year old would likely have no trouble activating a normal 5lb trigger.

    I'm also curious what 'extra charges' you think could be used for a lighter trigger, given it's not illegal to have one on a gun.

  • Sherlock Oct 22, 2013

    He may face the time by the courts will not give that to him..

  • mikeyfan5600 Oct 22, 2013

    The trigger pull on this weapon had to be very light for a 2 year old to pull the trigger. Probably somewhere in the 2lb range. Now what the police need to do is find out if the weapon had been altered to decrease the trigger pull. most handguns are between 5 and 10 lbs of pressure on the pull. Would a 2 year old put that much pressure on a trigger before they give up. Again look to see if the trigger mechanism was filed for a lighter pull for a quicker response. That could lead to additional charges.

  • junkmail5 Oct 22, 2013

    Look folks, the gun was a semiautomatic. It had to have a round in the chamber and the safety off. That is the only probable way the gun would have gone off if the 2 year-old had grabbed it. That is why I prefer revolvers.
    mbsheisey

    that makes NO sense.

    A revolver generally doesn't even HAVE a safety (mind you- many semi autos don't these days either- though a fair number do)

    And there's ALWAYS a live round under the hammer in a loaded revolver- unless you leave the gun partially empty.... whereas with a semi-auto the magazine can be fully loaded WITHOUT a round chambered.

  • RM24 Oct 22, 2013

    Until people realize that laws can't replace common sense things such as these will continue to happen. Laws can't keep guns out of the hands of felons. Laws can't teach parents how to be responsible! The concept of everyone being responsible for their actions and just doing the things that make sense is way gone. The father here is a problem to society, had been, and more than likely always will be.

  • Slappy171 Oct 22, 2013

    Another law abiding felon (sarcasm)! Had he not broken the law his daughter would still be here with us today. Thoughts and prayers to the little angel whose life ended so tragically.

  • mbsheisey Oct 22, 2013

    Look folks, the gun was a semiautomatic. It had to have a round in the chamber and the safety off. That is the only probable way the gun would have gone off if the 2 year-old had grabbed it. That is why I prefer revolvers.

  • junkmail5 Oct 22, 2013

    A 19yr old felon can not own a gun.-RudeDawg

    Correct.

    a 19yr old can not legally purchase a handgun.- RudeDawg

    Wrong.

    those who are not savy with gun laws...
    RudeDawg

    Uh...it appears to be you who is not familiar with NC gun law.

    You can ABSOLUTELY purchase and own a handgun at 18 or 19 in NC.

    It must be purchased via private sale though, not via an FFL... and with a valid permit.

    You can get a purchase permit at 18.

    You can buy a handgun privately at 18.

    The felon part- not so much though.

    http://www.ncdoj.gov/getdoc/32344299-a2a7-4ae5-99fd-9018262f64ac/2007-NC-Firearms-gun-Laws.aspx

    Read page 34 regarding age.

    "a pistol purchase permit can be issued to an individual
    18 years of age or older"

More...