4-year-old hospitalized after being shot; mother's boyfriend arrested

- A 4-year-old boy was recovering from a gunshot wound to the chest Tuesday while his mother's boyfriend was in jail facing charges in an incident that was eerily similar to a deadly shooting over the weekend.

Hillsborough County deputies weren't releasing many details about the shooting that happened at about 8:30 a.m. at the Key Vista Apartments in the University area of Tampa.

Detectives said the mother's boyfriend, Akia Thomas, was home with the child and had brought a gun into the home.

"We're continuing to conduct our interviews to determine... if it was unsecured and how the child may have gotten the gun," said HCSO Col. Donna Lusczynski.

Investigators said Thomas has a lengthy criminal record including 24 previous felony charges and five convictions and should not have had the weapon. He was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

It took detectives hours to secure a search warrant to get into the apartment where the shooting happened; they were waiting to process the scene to determine whether it was accidental.

"Our deputies are in the process of executing a search warrant on the residence to determine where the gun was stored, how it was a stored, if it was properly stored with a lock or in a secure cabinet," Lucszynski added.

This is a near-identical situation to a weekend shooting in Auburndale in which a 4-year-old boy got a hold of a gun belonging to his mother's boyfriend; it had been left out in the kitchen. The child died after accidentally shooting himself.

The gun used in the Tampa case was stolen, according to deputies, and it's unclear how Thomas got a hold of it.

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