Melvin Cline III

Melvin Cline III (Booking photo)

Detroit Father Charged After 3-Year-Old Boy Shoots Self

May 10, 2018 - 5:08 pm

DETROIT (WWJ) - A Detroit man has been charged in connection with a shooting that left his 3-year-old son clinging to life.

The Wayne County Prosecutor's office filed charges of second-degree child abuse, felon in possession of a firearm and felony firearm against 34-year-old Melvin Cline III. 

He was arraigned in 36th District Court Thursday and ordered held on a $100,000 cash/surety bond.

Investigators say Cline and the child's mother were arguing inside a home on Marcus Street Monday morning when the toddler picked up a loaded gun in the living room. The weapon went off and the bullet hit the boy in the stomach. He remains hospitalized and was last reported in critical condition.

Police said the parents had initially reported that the shot came from outside the home, but investigators knocked down that story.

"I get angry any time a child is shot and more so because of the reckless, irresponsible behavior of adults," Police Chief James Craig told WWJ's Vickie Thomas. "How many times have we had to stand here and talk about this reckless behavior? Irresponsible behavior?"

Cline is accused of leaving the loaded firearm accessible to his son, Melvin Cooley Cline IV, and failing to provide a safe environment for the toddler.

"There is a lesson because if you're irresponsible, do know that we're going to pursue you, we're going to present a warrant to the prosecutors office. The prosecutor has demonstrated time and again that she will charge you," said Craig. "That's the message. You're going to be held accountable for your reckless behavior. It shouldn't happen."

The weapon used in the shooting was confiscated by police.

Cline will be back in court for a probable cause conference on Thursday, May 17 and a preliminary examination the following Tuesday.