It’s just a week into 2014 and already rachet parenting has some new faces. An Evansville, Indiana couple has been arrested after cell phone footage of their 1-year-old playing with a gun was discovered as police were investigating the father.
22-year-old Toni Wilson, and her 19-year-old boyfriend Michael Barnes are now in custody, charged with child neglect, criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon, and allowing a child to possess a firearm. Barnes was already being investigated for attempting to sell a handgun to an undercover officer just down the street from an elementary school.
In the disturbing video, Wilson’s daughter – who we are not identifying – is seen playing with a .40 caliber handgun while sitting on a bed at the couple’s home in Evansville, Indiana.
Disturbing: Toni Wilson, 22, and Michael Barnes, 19, have been charged with child neglect after taking a video of Wilson’s 12-month-old daughter playing with a handgun.
As she waves the deadly weapon around, Barnes can allegedly be heard encouraging the toddler to shoot and say ‘pow’. The child replies: ‘pow’, before holding out the gun and pretending to fire.
However, at no point does Barnes attempt to stop the child, police said. In the footage, a woman’s voice, believed to be Wilson’s, can be heard from just meters away, 14 News reported. Sargeant Jason Cullum, of Evansville Police Department, described the footage as ‘mind-numbing’.
‘When we try to encourage these kids to be good members of our community, and you see somebody that’s working that hard against it, it just makes you wonder how many other children may be living in this type of situation and what the outcome is going to be,’ he told the news site.
The couple are also parents to one-month-old twins. All the children have been removed from the household.
(Photos: Vanderburgh Co. Jail)