Man charged with endangering child in connection with shooting that injured 6-year-old Lawrence boy
photo by: Mackenzie Clark
A man was charged during a first appearance in court Friday in connection with an August shooting that critically injured a 6-year-old boy.
Rashun B. Lewis, 27, is charged with aggravated endangering a child, a low-level felony. He appeared in Douglas County District Court Friday with attorney Nick David.
Tayshawn Mack Harris, 6, was shot in the head and flown to Children’s Mercy hospital in critical condition on Aug. 5, but he later stabilized. Lawrence police said early into the investigation that they did not suspect foul play.
Family members of Tayshawn previously told the Journal-World that he was visiting the home of longtime family friends when the incident occurred.
According to the police affidavit supporting Lewis’ charge, Lewis’ wife, Charon Dillon, told investigators that her 5-year-old son and Tayshawn were playing in a different room and must have found Lewis’ gun. Allegations in affidavits have not been proved in court, and defendants in criminal cases should be presumed not guilty unless and until they are convicted.
Lewis reportedly told police he heard a gunshot, ran into the couple’s bedroom and found the two boys underneath the bed; when Tayshawn stood up, he started bleeding from his head, according to the affidavit.
On Aug. 10, the 5-year-old reportedly told juvenile investigators that he found the gun in his parents’ room while he was looking for his whistle. The boy said he pointed the gun at the wall, “pushed the button,” heard a loud bang and saw Tayshawn fall off the bed, according to the affidavit.
Two days later, investigators were able to speak with Tayshawn at the hospital. He reportedly told police that the 5-year-old boy had found the gun, and Tayshawn told him to put it down; instead, the boy pointed the gun at Tayshawn and shot him, Tayshawn said, according to the affidavit.
Investigators searching Lewis’ apartment after the incident found a .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun inside a tub of clothing in the bedroom; Lewis told officers he’d put it there, according to the affidavit.
In court Friday, Chief Assistant District Attorney Eve Kemple requested that as a condition of his bond, Lewis not be allowed to have contact with any witnesses in the case. That would include Lewis’ wife and son.
David objected to that, saying that Lewis has been living with them since the incident and it was not a reasonable restriction. David said Lewis had been fully cooperative with police, and there was no reason to put a no-contact order in place now.
Kemple told the judge that the wife and son are material witnesses, and since the case has now been filed, the possibility of someone pressuring a witness to change their testimony was “very real” and that it happens in criminal cases. Judge Pro Tem James George denied that request, saying that the case had been filed in late September, and that prosecutors could have filed a motion to limit contact at any time but did not do so.
Kemple then asked that George admonish Lewis not to talk about the facts of the case with “impressionable parties,” and the judge agreed to do so.
George ordered Lewis to report to the Douglas County Jail by Sunday afternoon to be processed and fingerprinted. George granted Lewis a $2,000 own-recognizance bond. Lewis’ next court date is scheduled for Jan. 13.
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