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Suspect jailed in Christmas Eve shooting of Raleigh toddler

Officers found the body of a boy, dead of a gunshot wound, just before midnight Wednesday in southeast Raleigh. On Thursday morning, they arrested the child's father and charged him with involuntary manslaughter.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Police have jailed a suspect in the shooting death of a 3-year-old boy in southeast Raleigh late Christmas Eve.

Police charged Eric Eugene Hinton, 26, the child's father, with involuntary manslaughter and possession of firearm by felon, Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said. Hinton was arrested before 8 a.m. Thursday morning and is being held on $100,000 bond.

According to the arrest warrant, officers found the body of Pharell Hinton, dead of a gunshot wound, just before midnight Wednesday at 1123 Ujamaa Drive.

Neighbors told WRAL that the home belonged to Eric Hinton's mother and that he would often visit with his children.

Investigators were back on the scene Thursday, where they found evidence to indicate that the gun used in the shooting belonged to Hinton, according to arrest warrants. Investigators said they believe the child somehow got access to the gun and it discharged, killing him.

Sughrue emphasized that the investigation was not complete.

Hinton has a criminal record, with arrests for larceny, trespass, possession of stolen goods and drug use and possession. He served six months in jail in 2006.

Despite his past run-ins with the law, neighbors told WRAL News that Hinton loved his children. A captain on duty at the Wake County Jail said Hinton was brought in very upset and in no condition to talk to anyone.

Hinton should make his first court appearance Friday morning.


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