Coroner: Boy, 4, died within seconds

YOUNGSTOWN – The findings of an autopsy done on a 4-year-old boy believed to have fatally shot himself in the head show that he died within seconds of sustaining a perforating gunshot wound to the head.

The Mahoning County Coroner’s Office announced the determination Tuesday, but stated that a ruling will not be made on the manner of the child’s death – homicide or accidental – “until all investigations and laboratory testing is completed.”

Youngstown police were called to a shooting at about 11 p.m. Sunday to 448 Fairgreen Ave., Apt 3, on the city’s North Side. Investigators said they are treating the death of Ray-Twon Briggs as a homicide, although it appears it was accidental.

The coroner’s statement reads, “There is equally sufficient evidence from the scene and autopsy to suggest either an accident or a homicide.”

Youngstown police Chief Rod Foley said on Monday that investigators are “theorizing it was an accidental shooting,” but they weren’t ruling anything out and were still trying to identify the gun owner.

He said the child accessed the loaded guns in the bedroom of a 26-year-old man.

He confirmed that police found three loaded handguns. One of the guns, along with a bullet casing, was retrieved from under a bed.

The boy’s grandmother told police the boy and two other children, ages 1 and 5, were playing with the gun in a bedroom when the gun went off.

Police said the boy’s parents were not at the home at the time, but arrived later. They, along with the boy’s grandmother, were questioned by police.

Gunshot residue tests were performed on everyone at the home.

Reports indicate no one else was hurt.