Pa. cops rush to rescue boy, 10, who shot self in head

Boy accidentally shot himself with his father's .357 Magnum

By Mari A. Schaefer
The Philadelphia Inquirer

DELAWARE COUNTY, Pa. — When Police Officer Gene Mackey heard the radio call about a self-inflicted gunshot wound, he had no way of knowing that the victim was a child.

As it turned out, Mackey, an officer in Folcroft, and Sharon Hill Patrolman Stephen Mummo may have saved the 10-year-old's life after they rushed to the shooting scene at a Darby Township auto-body shop.

In interviews Monday, they described the drama Saturday night after the boy accidentally shot himself with his father's .357 Magnum.

Mackey and two other Folcroft officers in separate cars were filling their tanks at a gas station on Calcon Hook Road when the call came from Delaware County dispatchers. Knowing they were closer to the scene than Darby Township officers, they responded.

Mackey was the first to arrive at the body shop. He looked into the eyes of a father cradling his child's almost lifeless body.

" 'Help him, help him,' " the father cried.

"How old is he?" Mackey asked.


"I just scooped him out of his arms and ran," said the 16-year veteran, who has four daughters, ages 6 to 11.

Mummo had just arrived when he saw Mackey carry out the bleeding child and place him in the backseat of the closest police car. Mackey yelled for Mummo to get in with the boy. The two sped off, the other Folcroft cars following.

The child was unresponsive, and his eyes had a glazed look, Mummo said. Blood poured from a wound to his cheek and another in the back of his head.

"Kid, kid. Wake up. Can you hear me?" Mummo recalled yelling.

Mummo heard Mackey tell dispatch to notify Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital. Police cars blocked every intersection between Darby Township and the hospital.

As the car raced the 21/2 miles to the hospital, it passed the paramedic and ambulance responding to the shooting scene.

Mummo began chest compressions, as fast as he could. "I was trying to move the oxygen in his system through his body," Mummo said. "He was bleeding a lot in the car."

Mackey, who works part-time as an emergency medical technician at the hospital, knew exactly where to go.

"We were there so fast, they didn't have time to meet us with a stretcher," said Mackey. He took the boy from Mummo and ran him into the emergency treatment room, and set him on a bed.

"That was the first time you could actually see him breathing on his own," he said. Hospital emergency personnel swarmed around the boy, sedating him, he said.

Both Mackey and Mummo were covered in the boy's blood. From the time they got the call to the time he walked into the hospital, Mackey estimated, was less than four minutes.

"I was emotional," said Mackey. "I just wanted the kid to pull through. I didn't think he would, with a gunshot to the head from a .357."

The child, from Southwest Philadelphia, was transferred to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and is in critical but guarded condition, said Darby Township Police Chief Leonard McDevitt. Police did not release the name of the child or family.

"He is moving all extremities," McDevitt said. "The only thing he is not able to do is speak."

The boy and his 8-year-old sister had just been dropped off by their mother and were waiting in the family's SUV for their father, a body-shop employee, to get off work. Both parents were working overtime to make extra cash for Christmas, McDevitt said. The boy found the gun in the center console of the car.

McDevitt said charges would not be pressed unless ordered by the District Attorney's Office. The weapon was legally purchased and registered, he said.

"All the detectives said they are a caring, loving family and are traumatized," said McDevitt.

"It is frustrating. This didn't have to happen," he said. Mummo teaches gun safety to schoolchildren as part of his job. Free gun locks are available, he said.

Mackey said he told his wife what happened when he got home after his shift ended at 6 a.m. Sunday.

"She was sitting there crying with me," he said.

Mackey then went to check on his sleeping daughters and gave them all hugs.

Copyright 2014 The Philadelphia Inquirer

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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