Man sentenced to probation in connection with 5-year-old shooting 6-year-old Lawrence boy

photo by: Dylan Lysen/Lawrence Journal-World

Rashun B. Lewis, left, listens to Judge Sally Pokorny in Douglas County District Court on Wednesday, June 22, 2021, alongside his attorney Cooper Overstreet, right. Lewis pleaded no contest to aggravated endangering a child, a low level felony.

A man convicted of endangering a child in connection with an August 2020 shooting that critically injured a 6-year-old boy was sentenced to probation on Friday. The 6-year-old was shot by a 5-year-old in the man’s home.

Rashun B. Lewis, 28, previously pleaded no contest to the charge of aggravated endangering a child, a low-level felony, through a plea agreement with the district attorney’s office. Judge Sally Pokorny on Friday said she would honor the agreed-upon sentence of 12 months of probation.

Pokorny said that because Lewis had no prior criminal history, state sentencing guidelines called for probation. Lewis’ probation has an underlying six-month prison sentence.

Lewis will also be required to write a letter of apology to the victim and his family and will be prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm.

In the case, Lewis was accused of allowing the 6-year-old boy, Tayshawn Mack Harris, “to be placed in a situation in which the child’s life, body or health is endangered,” according to the charging document in the case.

Tayshawn was shot in the head and flown to Children’s Mercy hospital in critical condition on Aug. 5, 2020, but he later stabilized, the Journal-World previously reported. Lawrence police said early in the investigation that they did not suspect foul play.

Tayshawn’s family members 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.

photo by: Contributed Photos

Tayshawn Mack Harris, 6, is pictured at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., on Aug. 13 and 14, 2020.

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.

Although Lewis must write an apology letter, he also apologized to the family during the hearing. He told them he was sorry for what happened and that he had learned from his mistake. Lewis’ attorney Cooper Overstreet also told the court that he believed Lewis was remorseful for the incident from the beginning, which is why he chose to agree to a plea deal with the DA’s office.

Tyeisha Bell, Tayshawn’s mother, told the court that they continue to live with the trauma of the event physically and mentally.

Although Tayshawn survived the incident, Bell said he cannot swim or ride a bike because of his head injury. She also said Lewis and his family did not contact her after the incident to let her know what had happened and the fear she experienced before knowing her son would live was the “hardest thing anyone will go through in their life.”

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