Charges: 7 guns left near sleeping 4-year-old in St. Paul

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A St. Paul man has been charged with child endangerment for leaving 7 guns in his 4-year-old son's room, including a loaded shotgun that was found next to the child's bed.

Jeremy Smith, 25, told police he normally keeps the guns in a locked safe, but had them on the floor because he planned to clean them. Police found loose bullets and boxes of ammunition scattered all over the room, but saw no cleaning supplies.

There was a standup safe at the foot of the boy's bed, but the safe was unlocked and the door was ajar. There were 2 more long guns in the safe, including one shotgun with 2 shells in the magazine.

The guns were discovered when police followed up on a report of a domestic dispute early Wednesday morning, April 29. The boy's mother wanted to take the child home, but had been drinking and allegedly kicked and punched Smith. Neither party wanted to press charges, so police left the scene.

About an hour later, officers were called to a gas station on East 7th Street to meet the mother, who was now accompanied by the child's grandmother, who asked police for help in getting custody of the 4-year-old. Police returned to Smith's home on Desoto Street and were led up to the boy's bedroom.

When officers opened the bedroom door, they found multiple long guns on the floor, next to the bed where the boy was sleeping. The boy's grandmother let out a frightened gasp when she saw the guns, and took the boy out of the room.

Smith faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $3,000 fine for the child endangerment charge.